Vendredi, le 24 décembre 2010
Terminé la lecture de cet essai biographique sur le photographe Herb Ritts, décédé le 26 décembre 2002 d'une pneumonie alors qu'il était déjà gravement touché par le sida. Son dernier travail fut pour Vanity Fair, une série avec Ben Affleck.
Recueil de citations par son entourage et sa famille, on y découvre le petit garçon qui a comme voisin Steve McQueen, sa mère excentrique, ses amants, mais surtout son travail de photographe. L'essentiel de ses images devenues des classiques s'y retrouve, mais c'est aussi un album de famille, sa famille au sens large, de ses amis d'enfance à Elton John.
Dans cette interview avec Charlie Rose, Herb Ritts dit dès le début de l'entrevue la recette de son succès, à part le fait qu'il fut un grand photographe, «I'm good with peoples». Tout est là. C'est pourquoi je photographie des animaux morts et des piliers de béton.
Fred Harding: «Herb's jobs were often an emotional roller coaster for me. The women I worked with were goddesses, and we would be playacting as romantic lovers in exotic locations. A few days of this... It gets to a guy.»
Mark McKenna: «I just took a break in january of'87. I went back to Los Angeles and bummed around. I was working with Herb's old assistant, Larry Watson. He turned me on Helmut Newton, so I spent part of the winter assisting Helmut. You'd go up to the Chateau Marmont, grab a plastic bag from the camera store with film in it, a camera bag, and put that in the back of the car. June and Helmut would get in the front, and you'd drive to the shoot. I did a shoot with Helmut at a hotel downtown on Wilshire of Annette Bening. It was one of those deals with hours of makeup and hair and Helmut comes out there with his little folded Fuji, a '60s camera, and shoots three or four frames and says, «OK. Let'got to the next.» It was a six-page story and he shot the whole doggone thing on three rolls of 120 film, which is 36 frames - walking away with three rolls of film, you're shaking in your boots when you get to the lab!»
Ingrid Sischy: «There was a restaurant off Fourth Avenue that was, like, for ten seconds the hottest restaurant in New York. Crazy-hot-tiny it was a super-hot restaurant. Herb came to town, I'll never forget, because the night we were there in the restaurant, Francis Ford Coppola was sitting all night at a table eating by himself and we were all obsessed with that. He wants to eat by himself, and he has chosen the hottest restaurant in New York where there's only, like, seven tables.»
Stephanie Seymour: «Oh god, the birthday parties - they were infamous! I got married on the same day as Herb's birthday party and nobody showed up at my wedding. I was devastated.»
Annie Leibovitz: «I was envious of what Herb did! I was envious of those simple portraits, and the beauty in them. I loved and was envious of what he was doing. It's so interesting to be able to live a full life because you get to sort of realize what you are doing, and then what you want to do, and those are very powerful possibilities. I think Herb was cut short in that respect and I think he was definitely headed to being greater, but we have the work that he did.»
K.D. Lang: «To me there was still an innocence there. It was the era of the supermodel, which probably won't come around again for a long time. Vanity Fair was on fire, and Vogue was on fire, and MTV was on fire... Pop culture was a vortex of pop and art - or a convergence of pop and art - at that moment, and Herb was really sort of right in the crux of it. I was so honored to be a part oh that.»
Sarajane Hoare: «My mother would say, «An unfinished painting is more beautiful than a finished one.» That is what makes Herb's pictures sing, the unfinished painting.»
June Gable: «I wonder, since I never got to be there at the end of his life, I wonder if at least he achieved his dream. He did achieve the dream, didn't he?»

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