Despite his lack of formal training, the American photographer Herb Ritts (1952-2002) bestrode the 1980s fashion world like a colossus. Famed for his amenable personality, he created a style that came to define the era's shoots.
Herb Ritts: Super, at Hamiltons in Mayfair, gathers vintage gelatin silver prints of Ritts' photos, rarely seen outside the Herb Ritts Foundation archive.
Instead of the extravagant glamour of older fashion shots, Ritts had a paired down approach, which aimed to bring out the true personality of his sitters. Preferring to shoot outside, he focused on light and movement over theatricality. Despite these anti-glamour elements, however, the Ritts' work helped usher in the era of the supermodels, many of whom - such as Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell – were frequent subjects of Ritts' work.
Another sitter, Cindy Crawford, described Ritts' approached as something of a collaborative process. "For a model it’s very unsatisfying to come in when the photographer’s already worked out the photo: Where’s me in this picture? I never felt like that with Herb. You definitely felt like you made a contribution.”