8 Week Portrait Class - Ritts

This is part 5 in an 8 part series about my discoveries, inspiration and creations with Don Giannatti’s 8 Week Portrait Class.

Herb Ritts, a master of art and commercial photography, is in the spotlight for this week's portrait class. As well as being a portrait photographer, Ritts had an amazing career creating editorial fashion for the likes of Vogue and Vanity Fair, and advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein, Chanel and Giorgio Armani, amongst others. Later in his career he directed awarding winning music videos for stars like Madonna. He also created fine art, in fact this is how he approached every shoot, as if he was making it for himself. His work has been exhibited worldwide and is held in many significant galleries and private collections.

Ritts took a strong, graphic approach to his work. Using natural light, often between the hours of 3 and 6pm which were his 'golden hours', he created images with clean lines, strong forms and simple backgrounds. The sand, beach, desert and sky where often used as backdrops.

Even though there is an abundance of natural light here in Australia, its summer time and pretty darn hot, so I chose to do this Ritts inspired shoot in the cooler studio, simulating the sun as best as possible. One light (my favourite), no modifiers, a white wall and fun, lots of fun. Its a difficult job trying to get a decent shot in when you are laughing so much, but we managed some winners. The gorgeous Emilie and Maggie were my models and did an amazing job. And special thanks to Jane, who now has so many titles from photography assistant to talent scout, that the list is just too long to include here!

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