Ritts, who died in 2002 at age 50, took a classical approach to his portraits. He preferred to work in black and white and take his photos outdoors using natural light.
“Herb Ritts became woven immediately into American culture in the 1980s and ‘90s because of so many magazine covers and magazine editorials, fashion advertisements, commercials and also music videos,” Klos said.
One of the exhibit's key images is the portrait Ritts took of Madonna for her “True Blue” album cover.
Klos said the “True Blue” cover photo, a dramatic profile shot that Ritts took about 60 rolls of film to get, became iconic for a good reason.
About a dozen years ago, Adams took up a camera with an eye toward shooting his own album covers and wound up with a second career as a professional photographer. His OKC exhibit, which closes May 17, features photos he's done for magazines such as Harper's Bazaar.
“I always let people be themselves. Sometimes I have a set which can be useful to play with, or an interesting location, but the best photos I think are the simplest ones,” he wrote in his email.
“He's really developed as a photographer over the last 10 years and he's now very self-assured, I think, of what he does. And he knows a lot of these people. I think that helps so much because they're at ease when they're with him,” said Oklahoma Contemporary Executive Director Mary Ann Prior.
“They're not haphazard moments. They really are all staged, but the people are relaxed and it doesn't look in any ways forced.”