Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Lens: Herb Ritts and Djimon

Djimon with Octopus, 1989
© Estate of Herb Ritts

Yesterday's photo essay covered Djimon Hounsou.

One of our regular readers, Tosh, lives in Djimon's home country of Benin. He took me to task for not including the image that shot Djimon to stardom:

You mentioned Thierry Mugler, but what I think made Djimon so famous is Herb Ritts' photographs. Especially the picture with an octopus on Djimon's head.

Ritts shot the above image in 1989, at his Los Angeles studio for his famous book Men/Women.

The photographer was a master of manipulating black and white for maximum impact, and demonstrates it here. We see Djimon's head draped with an octupus as if it were a hat. The tentacles lovingly caress his neck and shoulders. Even more erotic: the models are eyes closed.

Djimon was one of Ritts' favorite models. Later, in 1992, he directed Hounsou and Janet Jackson in the music video for Love Will Never Do (Without You).