Fashion photographer Herb Ritts captured so much of the glitz and glamour that epitomizes that L.A. image-centric air. The skin, the sun, the models, the celebrities... they're all there, and looking mighty fine at that. Yet Ritts' photos don't just glitter on the surface. The powerfully simple forms complicate established notions of gender and race. The clean curves of the body stimulate the mind.
Ritts began his commercial photography career in the 70's, shooting for magazines including Vogue, Vanity Fair, Interview and Rolling Stone. He seamlessly worked his way into the art world around 1985. Ritts' pieces capture strong images with an incredible lightness and freedom. Dresses blow in the wind, muscles flex, heroes and vixens strike a pose in the city that relies more on fantasy than reality. Models switch off being masculine and feminine like they are playing cinematic roles.
Ritts has photographed everyone from the Dalai Lama to Elizabeth Taylor to Madonna. His work has become emblematic of the Los Angeles combination of exterior beauty and interior warmth. Upon first glance his works appear similar to Robert Mapplethorpe's raw, nude forms. Yet while Mapplethorpe's images are often shocking, Ritts' are quite inviting. Though Ritts passed away in 2002, his work remains at the forefront of L.A. Style.
"Herb Ritts: L.A. Style" will show at the Getty Center from April 3 - August 26.
Check out a preview of Ritt's work and fall in love with L.A. Style...