Chris von Wangenheim

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Chris von Wangenheim
Born Christoph von Wangenheim
(1942-02-21)21 February 1942
Berlin, Germany
Died 9 March 1981(1981-03-09) (aged 39)
Saint Martin
Cause of death Road accident
Occupation Fashion photographer
Years active 1965–1981
Spouse(s) Regine Jaffey (?-1981)
Children 1
Parent(s) Konrad Freiherr von Wangenheim

Christoph "Chris" von Wangenheim (21 February 1942 – 9 March 1981) was a German fashion photographer of the late 1960s through the early 1980s.

Early life and career[edit]

von Wangenheim was born in Berlin,[1] son of Konrad Freiherr von Wangenheim, a German aristocratic and army Cavalry Captain (Rittmeister) who became a well-known horse rider at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin as Gold Medalist in Team Eventing. While serving during World War II, Konrad was captured on the Eastern Front and held prisoner in a POW camp located in the Soviet Union. He remained imprisoned for more than a decade, and was found hanged days before his intended release.[2][3]

After studying architecture for a period of time, von Wagenheim decided to pursue his interest in photography. In 1965, he moved to New York where he worked as a photographer's assistant for David Thorpe and James Moore until 1967.[4] He started his own studio the following year and began working for the American edition of Harper's Bazaar, and for the Italian edition of Harper's Bazaar in 1970.[5][6] American Vogue became his primary outlet in 1972, but he also worked for its German, French and Italian editions, as well as for Esquire, Playboy, Interview, and Viva magazines. von Wangenheim is also well known for his advertisements for Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, and Revlon.[7]

Supermodel Gia Carangi did her first major fashion shoot with him in October 1978. He also took the notorious photographs of Carangi standing naked behind a chain-link fence.[8] Carangi became one of von Wagenheim's favorite models and she worked with him on several fashion photographs throughout her career.

As of September 1, 2015, there will be a book on von Wangenheim's work and life entitled Gloss: The Work of Chris von Wangenheim by Roger Padilha and Mauricio Padilha, published by Rizzoli, with a forward by photographer Steven Klein. [9]


On 9 March 1981, von Wangenheim died in a single car crash while vacationing in Saint Martin.[10]

At the time of his death, von Wangenheim was in the process of divorcing former model Regine Jaffry with whom he had one child.[11]


  1. ^ "Chris von Wangenheim". American Photo 17 (6): 61. Nov–Dec 2006. ISSN 1046-8986. 
  2. ^ Large, David Clay (2007). Nazi Games: The Olympics Of 1936. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 283. ISBN 0-393-05884-0. 
  3. ^ Goldblatt, David; Acton, Johnny (2012). How to Watch the Olympics: The Essential Guide to the Rules, Statistics, Heroes, and Zeroes of Every Sport. Penguin Books. p. 147. ISBN 0-143-12187-1. 
  4. ^ Fashion Theory, edited by Carol di Grappa, Lustrum Press, 1980.
  5. ^ "Chris von Wangenheim". American Photo 17 (6): 89. Nov–Dec 2006. ISSN 1046-8986. 
  6. ^ Gross, Michael (2011). Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women. HarperCollins. p. 376. ISBN 0-062-06790-7. 
  7. ^ Hoy, Anne H. (2005). The Book of Photography. National Geographic. p. 386. 
  8. ^ Fried, Stephen (1994). Thing of Beauty. Pocket Books. p. 159. ISBN 0-671-70105-3. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Fried, Stephen (1994). Thing of Beauty. Pocket Books. p. 259. ISBN 0-671-70105-3. 
  11. ^ Fried, Stephen (1994). Thing of Beauty. Pocket Books. p. 257. ISBN 0-671-70105-3. 

External links[edit]