Stephanie, Cindy, Tatjana, Naomi 1. Hollywood, 1989
Gelatin silver print
14 x 11 inches
Known for his distinct, highly stylized black-and-white portraits and nudes, Herb Ritts (1952–2002) bridged the gap between art and commerce with each of his prints. His brief yet prolific career, which began in the late 1970s, involved portraits of models and celebrities, editorial fashion for publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and Interview magazines, high-profile advertising campaigns for brands such as Chanel, Polo Ralph Lauren, Pirelli and Calvin Klein, as well as numerous commercials and music videos for artists including Madonna, Michael Jackson, Toni Braxton and Britney Spears. With his indistinguishable bold, minimalist yet glamorous aesthetics, Ritts repeatedly challenged established notions of race and gender. His stark compositions often depict isolated figures or body parts that create a series of sharp lines and crisp forms. His works have been exhibited extensively worldwide and are featured in numerous noteworthy public and private collections.
Among his most iconic and celebrated photographs, Stephanie, Cindy, Tatjana, Naomi 1. Hollywood, is emblematic of the critical role Ritts played in defining the supermodel era of the 1980s. Featured in this image are some of his preferred subjects. Softly lit and intimately assembled, the four models are closely seated in an intricately linked configuration. Their overlapping limbs create a series of smooth, sinuous forms which attest to the way in which Ritts modernized the nude and celebrated the beauty and sculptural potential of the human body.