The Beastie Boys photographed by Deborah Feingold, 1987.
The book The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star chronicles Nikki Sixx’s life 1986-1987. During this period
Denise “Vanity” Matthews
was Nikki’s girlfriend, and often mentioned in his diaries. In 1987, they were briefly engaged. It was a toxic relationship, they enabled each others’ drug abuse.
On meeting Vanity, Nikki says he was doing cocaine and watching MTV with a pal, pointing out girls he’d like to get to know better, when he spotted Vanity on screen. A call to the
office and he tracked down her phone number—common dating procedure for Sixx. She invited him over. When she “opened the door naked, with her eyes going around in her head,” he had “a feeling that we just might hit it off.”
Diary entry from January 1987:
Vanity came and went during different periods of my addiction. She was a wild black chick who had sung with Prince: she’d also been his lover for a while. At the time I thought of Vanity as a disposable human being, like a used needle. Once its purpose was fulfilled it was ready for the trash, only to be dug up if you were really desperate…We became drug buddies: sometimes, you could even just about call us boyfriend and girlfriend. Vanity also taught me how to really freebase: the first time I based was with Tommy when Mötley just started and only a few times after that. So up until then, I’d been mostly snorting or injecting. But as soon as she showed me the real ins and outs of cooking up a good rock…it was love.
Not her. The drug.
Keith Haring photographed by Marcus Leatherdale as Santa Claus, 1987.
Sylvester Stallone and Brigitte Nielsen, Long Island, 1987 – Ph. Herb Ritts
Christy Turlington, 1987 – Ph. Patrick Demarchelier
Backflip, Paradise Cove, California, 1987 – Tony Ward photographed by Herb Ritts
On an editorial assignment for Tatler magazine, Herb created what would go on to become arguably one of his most iconic images – Backflip.
The subject, model Tony Ward, went on to describe this image: “I’m a soldier. I don’t care. Tell me to do a backflip for half an hour straight. OK. If I can do it, I’ll do it. Jump out of the freezing water? OK. It’s an integral part of the photo. Herb is an iconographer. When you think about it, Herb’s photos are very surrealist objects d’art. I knew he was creating timeless art that was going to live forever.”
On the contact sheet, along with denoting his selected image, Herb’s hand notations detail paper selection (Agfa Portriga Warm Tone) and darkroom notes to “Hold detail in hair. Less moody. More snap.“
Gianni Versace, Milan, 1987 – Ph. Harry Benson
Male Nude on Log, Hollywood, 1987 – Ph. Herb Ritts
Chanel Beauty, 1987 Ph. Horst P. Horst