Herb Ritts has always been a huge and primary source of inspiration for me and my own photographic practice and creativity. When I start mood boarding for a project, he is one of the first photographers, who's work my eyes gaze over. Being an visual arts and photographic digital media teacher, who also has roots in classical music, I see exactly what it is that makes his work so perfect and hard for others to articulate why his images are timeless.
Form, shape, light, contrast, line, tone, texture, shadow. Classical foundational elements of all visual arts and photography is what Herb Ritts is about. Read the comments of all who worked with/sat for him. Except for Bryan Appleyard's comment, where he contradicts all else. Weirdo.
One can only wonder about art critics sometimes. I feel validated in writing such things, for I too have formal qualifications in art history and theory, in addition to studio work involved in creating real art work. I advocate there are two kinds of people in the world; those who like talking about it and there are those who do it. One can only understand by hands-on involvement.
Keep it simple.