About the Photographer
Herb Ritts was born in 1952 in Los Angeles. After studying economics at Bard College, where he earned a BA in 1974, Ritts started photographing friends in Hollywood in the late 1970s. He first gained widespread notice when Newsweek published his photograph of actors Jon Voight and Ricky Schroeder on the set of the 1979 film The Champ. Ritts went on to be come a successful portrait and editorial fashion photographer, and his images have been featured in Vogue, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, and other major magazines. Ritts is perhaps known for his black and white nudes, which depict the human form with crisp lines and bold forms.
In 1988 The Gap launched an advertising campaign titled the "Individuals of Style," for which it commissioned leading photographers to create black and white portraits of famous cultural figures. Ritts chose to photograph singer Diana Ross and her daughter, Tracee. Intended for display in bus stop shelters, the photographs from the campaign are printed at a large scale and overlaid with the Gap logo. Along with the photograph by Ritts, MoCP's collection includes portraits commissioned by the Gap from five other photographers. These selections were exhibited at MoCP in 1994. Photographs from the campaign were also presented at the National Portrait Gallery, London in 2007.
Ritts worked in video as well as still photography. His fist music video was Madonna’s “Cherish” in 1989. Two years later, he produced MTV Music Award-winning videos for Chris Isaak and Janet Jackson. Ritts died on December 26, 2002 in Los Angeles.