Herb Ritts, In Retrospect

I loved his work from an early age. His black and white work with Cindy Crawford still inspires me today. I wanted to remember him with this post and revisit the photos that inspired me.

About Mr. Ritts:

In the late 1970s, the mostly self-taught, Los Angeles–based photographer Herb Ritts stumbled upon success, after his impromptu images of his longtime friend Richard Gere—taken at a California gas station, on a lark—were widely published and well received.

Herb Ritts began his photographic career in the late 70’s and gained a reputation as a master of art and commercial photography. In addition to producing portraits and editorial fashion for Vogue, Vanity Fair, Interview and Rolling Stone, Ritts also created successful advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein, Chanel, Donna Karan, Gap, Gianfranco Ferré, Gianni Versace, Giorgio Armani, Levi’s, Pirelli, Polo Ralph Lauren, Valentino among others. Since 1988 he directed numerous influential and award winning music videos and commercials. His fine art photography has been the subject of exhibitions worldwide, with works residing in many significant public and private collections.

23-herb-ritts-mark-hanauerIn his life and work, Herb Ritts was drawn to clean lines and strong forms. This graphic simplicity allowed his images to be read and felt instantaneously. They often challenged conventional notions of gender or race. Social history and fantasy were both captured and created by his memorable photographs of noted individuals in film, fashion, music, politics and society.

Ritts died in full mid-career glory, and in the months after his death, his cover shots continued to hit newsstands. We can only guess how aging—and, yes, surviving HIV—would have enriched his vision. “He was a young, robust, energetic, vital, vibrant man who had a lot that he wanted to do. He was excited and thrilled about his future,” says his lover, Erik Hyman. “He wasn’t finished.”

Ritts was committed to HIV/AIDS related causes, and contributed to many charitable organizations, among them amfAR, Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, Project Angel Food, Focus on AIDS, APLA, Best Buddies and Special Olympics . He was also a charter member on the Board of Directors for The Elton John Aids Foundation.

Herb Ritts passed away on December 26th, 2002 but his work lives on.

View more of his work here.

Sources: Lenora Jane Estes for VanityFair
Herbritts.com

 

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Group f/64

Group f.64 provided a rallying place for like-minded photographers to gather, state their aims, and exhibit their carefully composed black-and-white images. The group mostly focused on landscapes and close up images from the natural environment, subjects that highlighted the photographer’s creative intuition and ability to create aesthetic order out of nature’s chaos.

On November 15, 1932, at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco, eleven photographers announced themselves as Group f/64: Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, John Paul Edwards, Preston Holder, Consuelo Kanaga, Alma Lavenson, Sonya Noskowiak, Henry Swift, Willard Van Dyke, Brett Weston, and Edward Weston. The idea for the show had arisen a couple of months before at a party in honor of Weston held at a gallery known as “683” (for its address on Brockhurst Street in San Francisco)—the West Coast equivalent of Alfred Stieglitz’s gallery 291—where they had discussed forming a group devoted to exhibiting and promoting a new direction in photography that broke with the Pictorialism then prevalent in West Coast art photography.

The name referred to the smallest aperture available in large-format view cameras at the time and it signaled the group’s conviction that photographs should celebrate rather than disguise the medium’s unrivaled capacity to present the world “as it is.” As Edward Weston phrased it, “The camera should be used for a recording of life, for rendering the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself, whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh.” A corollary of this idea was that the camera was able to see the world more clearly than the human eye, because it didn’t project personal prejudices onto the subject. The group’s effort to present the camera’s “vision” as clearly as possible included advocating the use of aperture f/64 in order to provide the greatest depth of field, thus allowing for the largest percentage of the picture to be in sharp focus; contact printing, a method of making prints by placing photographic paper directly in contact with the negative, instead of using an enlarger to project the negative image onto paper; and glossy papers instead of matte or artist papers, the surfaces of which tended to disperse the contours of objects.

Hostetler, Lisa. “Group f/64”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Group f/64 Manifesto

The name of this Group is derived from a diaphragm number of the photographic lens. It signifies to a large extent the qualities of clearness and definition of the photographic image which is an important element in the work of members of this Group.

The chief object of the Group is to present in frequent shows what it considers the best contemporary photography of the West; in addition to the showing of the work of its members, it will include prints from other photographers who evidence tendencies in their work similar to that of the Group.

 

Group f/64 is not pretending to cover the entire of photography or to indicate through its selection of members any deprecating opinion of the photographers who are not included in its shows. There are great number of serious workers in photography whose style and technique does not relate to the metier of the Group.

 

Group f/64 limits its members and invitational names to those workers who are striving to define photography as an art form by simple and direct presentation through purely photographic methods. The Group will show no work at any time that does not conform to its standards of pure photography. Pure photography is defined as possessing no qualities of technique, composition or idea, derivative of any other art form. The production of the “Pictorialist,” on the other hand, indicates a devotion to principles of art which are directly related to painting and the graphic arts.

 

The members of Group f/64 believe that photography, as an art form, must develop along lines defined by the actualities and limitations of the photographic medium, and must always remain independent of ideological conventions of art and aesthetics that are reminiscent of a period and culture antedating the growth of the medium itself.

 

The Group will appreciate information regarding any serious work in photography that has escaped its attention, and is favorable towards establishing itself as a Forum of Modern Photography.

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Kevin Russ | A Traveling Photographer

Through my social feeds I kept seeing Kevin Russ’ name pop up. I thought I would check him out more, and found this great video by Maxwell Monty on Vimeo.

Here is what Maxwell writes:

Kevin Russ has been a huge inspiration to me since about 2005 when I saw some of his pictures on flickr. Over the years, he has just become such an incredible and focused photographer, ranging from doing portraiture now to landscape photography. He is one of the most humble men you will ever meet and really shows that there is no secret to photography or getting an incredible image.

Kevin has been traveling throughout the great American west shooting landscape and wildlife solely with his iPhone 4s and 5. He rarely pulls out his DSLR unless it’s for a bear or bear cub where he can’t get close. This is just a small peek into his life as a traveling photographer and some stories that come along with it.

You can help support Kevin by purchasing his prints here:
http://society6.com/kevinruss/prints

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Music:
“Robin Won” – Unseen Music
“Far Away” – Jose Gonzalez

MaxwellMonty.com

Made by Hand – The Cigar Shop

Fantastic storytelling in this project from bureauofcommongoods.com, I had to share their 4th episode as well.

Made by Hand is a new short film series celebrating the people who make things by hand—sustainably, locally, and with a love for their craft.

In 1974, Dominican immigrant Don Antonio Martinez started a small shop in New York City selling hand rolled cigars. Thirty-eight years later his son, Jesus, carries on the tradition. The shop combines craftsmanship with community, mixing equal parts work and play.

director-producer KEEF
co-director ELIAS RESSEGATTI
director of photography JOSHUA KRASZEWSKI
editor MATT SHAPIRO
title design MANDY BROWN
composer NATHAN ROSENBERG / DOGHOUSENYC
re-recording mixer NICHOLAS MONTGOMERY
assistant re-recording mixer JOHN GUMAER
sound recordist ROBERT ALBRECHT
additional sound recording JON MOORE

special thanks
JESUS MARTINEZ / MARTINEZ CIGARS
CREW CUTS
MATT DICKEY
ALEX KAHN & MARY WOOD / FRISBIE
DAVID HAYAN / SUPERSONIC CREATIVE

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Made by Hand – The Knife Maker

A fantastic project, from bureauofcommongoods.com, Made by Hand is a new short film series celebrating the people who make things by hand—sustainably, locally, and with a love for their craft.

In our second film, we meet writer turned knife maker Joel Bukiewicz of Cut Brooklyn. He talks about the human element of craft, and the potential for a skill to mature into an art. And in sharing his story, he alights on the real meaning of handmade—a movement whose riches are measured in people, not cash.

director-producer KEEF
director of photography JOSHUA KRASZEWSKI
editor MATT SHAPIRO
music MICHAEL TRAINOR & NATHAN ROSENBERG
music produced at THE DOG HOUSE NYC
sound recordist ROBERT ALBRECHT
re-recording mixer NICHOLAS MONTGOMERY
assistant re-recording mixer JOHN GUMAER
gaffer ADAM ORELLANA
title design MANDY BROWN

special thanks
JOEL BUKIEWICZ & CUT BROOKLYN

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Mongolia’s Nomads

There is no question Boston.com‘s The Big Picture blog is a primo place to view some of the most current and best photojournalism out there, it is also a great place for inspiration.

Through his buy cytotec online uk Vanishing Cultures Project photographer neurontin 100mg cap parke dav Taylor Weidman documents threatened ways of life. Regular readers of The Big Picture will recognize his distinctive work from his previous entry here on the Wangen im Allgäu Mustang region of Nepal. Weidman writes of the threatened nomadic culture in Mongolia: “Mongolian pastoral herders make up one of the world’s largest remaining nomadic cultures.

Continue reading Mongolia’s Nomads

A Photo Editor – A Brilliant Resource

Website: aphotoeditor.com
Twitter: @aphotoeditor

This blog by Rob Haggart is a resource I have used for a few years. It constantly provides a great resource for my own commercial gigs..and lately some great inspiration. The Daily Edit is one my favorite aspects of the blog.

It was also through this blog I was introduced to Suzanne Sease, who I hired for to edit my portfolio. That experience was fantastic.

Continue reading A Photo Editor – A Brilliant Resource

Varanasi, India: “Beyond” by Cale Glendening

“BEYOND” is an exclusive documentary featuring photographer Joey L. Set in Varanasi, India. The documentary by filmmaker Cale Glendening follows Joey and his assistant Ryan as they complete their latest photo series- “Holy Men.” Almost every major religion breeds ascetics; wandering monks who have renounced all earthly possessions, dedicating their lives to the pursuit of spiritual liberation.Their reality is dictated only by the mind, not material objects. Even death is not a fearsome concept, but a passing from the world of illusion.

Cale and I were trying to think of different ways of sharing “Beyond.” Should we sell it on a DVD or Blu-ray? Should we make some kind of tip-jar? After pondering all these ideas, we finally just decided to put it for free online. We want as many eyes to see it as possible, and nothing to distract from the message of the film. Enjoy.

Continue reading Varanasi, India: “Beyond” by Cale Glendening