|PORT OF NEW ORLEANS 1931|
|ALLIED CHEMICALS OCTOBER 1937|
|AMERICAN SUGAR 1932|
|A.O.SMITH CORPORATION, C1937|
|CHICAGO TRIBUNE 1934|
|GOODYEAR AIRSHIP DATE UNKNOWN|
|GULF OIL C1936|
|GYPSUM FEB 1936|
|HOUDRY FEBRUARY 1939|
|INTERNATIONAL CEMENT MARCH 1935|
|POWER OF GRAVITY|
|PROFIT IN CANS 1933|
|THE ROLLING TIRE 1935|
|ST.JOE'S MISSOURI DIGGINGS|
|AMERICAN VISCOSE JULY 1937|
|WESTINGHOUSE FEB 1938|
William M.Rittase (1894-1968) was an industrial photographer working out of Philadelphia.He is one of the handful of photographers such as Russell Aikins and Margaret Bourke White who defined the heroic age of depicting the manufacturing process. A key image to reveal the attitudes of the editorial staff and the photographer himself can be found in the Wheat feature, Modernism at General Mills, a self-conscious identification as early as 1931.
The American Viscose feature allows us to compare the contributions of two stalwarts in the same arena, Rittase and Aikins. I am not sure I could identify characteristics of each. Rittase has an eye for hard shiny repeated shapes and lights for giant scale in his Big Toy stuff. He is also good on assembly lines although doesn't really solve the question of the posed worker about to break into a giggle.
Rittase also worked for the advertising company N.W.Ayer's of Philadelphia so, his imprint can be found in the ads as well as the editorial content. Yes, but FORTUNE seems keen to avoid having the photographer identified by name in an advertisement. They were proud of their ability (unusual in magazines of the time) of making a clear distinction, that the content ruled and the advertisers were largely subservient to this policy.
Rittase doesn't seem to have received the appreciation accorded to his contemporaries. I was intrigued that Lincoln Krstein had invited him to contribute to the 1932 exhibition at MoMA entitled “Murals by American Painters and Photographers”.
The feautures selected above are far from comprehensive but do acknowledge the scale of his contributions to FORTUNE and how sensitive he was to the industrial specifics of the article.