Herbert “Herb” Ritts (August 13, 1952 – December 26, 2002) was an American fashion photographer who concentrated on black-and-white photography and portraits, often in the style of classical Greek sculpture.
In 1991, Ritts directed Madonna in “Cherish” music video. In 1991, he won two MTV Video Awards for his work on music videos by Janet Jackson and Chris Isaak. Ritts also directed the music video for Michael Jackson’s “In the Closet”, which featured supermodel Naomi Campbell. Ritts also worked on other projects, including directing and acting, on Mariah Carey’s video collection #1’s (1999), Jennifer Lopez’s sepia video “Ain’t It Funny”, Janet Jackson’s Design of a Decade 1986/1996 (1996), Intimate Portrait: Cindy Crawford (1998), Murder in the First (1995), Britney Spears’ “Don’t Let Me Be The Last To Know (2001) and Shakira’s Underneath Your Clothes.
On December 26, 2002, Ritts died of complications from pneumonia at the age of 50. According to Ritts’ publicist, “Herb was HIV-positive, but this particular pneumonia was not PCP (pneumocystis pneumonia), a common opportunistic infection of AIDS. But at the end of the day, his immune system was compromised.”