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From Library Journal
This sumptuously designed and printed book shows some unusual subjects by Ritts, well known for his fashion and celebrity photographs. His easily recognizable style has been applied here to Africa (many images were made in Tanzania and feature the Maasai tribe), where he focuses on textures and the play of light and shadows on human faces, wild animals, carcasses, and bones. He chooses exotic landscapes as backgrounds for his posed shots, mostly young African women, whose skin, hair, and jewelry are elegantly presented. Some of the strongest images are surreal juxtapositions of animals (and men) devouring newly killed beasts; desert-tough feet; and men wearing skull masks. The presentation is impeccable, but listing captions at the end is irritating and underlines the fact that this is not so much documentary work as fashion photography in a new location. However, the book will be interesting to photographers and, perhaps, anthropologists.
Kathleen Collins, New York Transit Museum Archives, Brooklyn
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Portrait and glamour photographer Ritts, whose Notorious (1992) set a new limit on book size, weighs in with another whopper. Africa has a focus, even an austerity, that makes it quite different from that earlier collection of celebrity portraits. To be sure, Ritts brings his trademark sensuality and stylized elegance to each image, so much so that the Masai he photographed look like stills from a carefully scripted music video (or, creepily, like outtakes from Leni Reifenstahl's Nuba project).... read more