was born in Los Angeles
in 1952, and grew up living and
working among the celebrities of the day.
In 1970, he left california to attend bard college and study economics. He later returned to west hollywood and worked as a sales representative for the family business selling rattan furniture, often to movie sets. This job allowed ritts to travel and to pursue one of his interests, photographing his friends.
Ritts' hobby soon became a self-taught career. The photographer himself attributes his first success to shots of actor Richard Gere taken on a desert excursion that ended with a flat tire.
It was the tender machismo captured in the photograph of the young Gere — rising star of the 1980 movie 'american gigolo' — that launched Ritts' career as a commercial photographer.
Ritts looks back on the late '70s and early '80s as apprentice years, mastering his craft and developing a personal aesthetic photographing men's and women's fashions. Simultaneously, he was building his reputation as a celebrity portraitist.
While working for 'interview' magazine in 1985, ritts exhibited his
photographs in a gallery setting for the first time. Since then his career has escalated, moving from fashion photography for the top national and international fashion magazines such as 'harper's bazaar', 'vogue', 'elle', 'vanity fair', and 'rolling stone',
among others, to album covers and music videos for Madonna, Elton John and Cher (in 1991, two of his videos won MTV awards for best female video of Janet Jackson and best male video of Chris Isaak).
Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, The Gap, Versace, Valentino, Gianfranco Ferre and Giorgio Armani are among his many corporate clients.
It was for his portraits for 'the gap' that he received the infinity award for applied photography from the international center for photography, New York.
Official site here