Ellen von Unwerth

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Von Unwerth, Paris, 2003

Ellen von Unwerth (born January 17, 1954) is a German photographer and director, specializing in erotic femininity.

She worked as a fashion model for ten years before becoming a photographer, and now makes fashion, editorial, and advertising photographs.

Personal Life[edit]

Von Unwerth was born 17 January 1954 in Frankfurt, Germany. Her early childhood was less than ideal, often ending with her in Bavarian foster care systems.[1] Eventually, von Unwerth was able to graduate high school in Munich, where she would work as a circus magician's assistant for three years.[2] At the age of twenty while walking down the street, von Unwerth was asked by a photographer if she ever thought about having a modeling career. von Unwerth decided to give modeling a chance and moved to Paris where she had a successful modeling career for ten years.[3] However, von Unwerth felt that as a model, she did not have the freedom to decide where her or how image would be used. Her boyfriend at the time gave her a camera, leading to an impromptu photo shoot in Africa by her of her model colleagues. When the photos were published, von Unwerth decided that this was the new path she would take in life, as the demand for her photography skills outgrew her demand as a model.[citation needed]


Von Unwerth's first notable work was when she first photographed Claudia Schiffer in 1989.[4] Her work has been published in Vogue, Vanity Fair, Interview, The Face, Arena, Twill, L'Uomo Vogue and I-D,[citation needed] and she has published several books of photography.

Von Unwerth did promotional photography for Duran Duran from 1994 to 1997 and did some photography for their 1990 album Liberty and 1997 album Medazzaland.[citation needed] Her work has been used on other album covers including Bananarama's Pop Life (1991), Belinda Carlisle's A Woman and a Man (1996), Cathy Dennis' Am I the Kinda Girl? (1996), Janet Jackson's The Velvet Rope (1997), All Saints' Saints & Sinners (2000), Dido's Life for Rent (2003), Britney Spears' Blackout (2007), Christina Aguilera's Back To Basics (2006) and Keeps Gettin' Better: A Decade of Hits and Rihanna's Rated R and Talk That Talk.[citation needed]

Von Unwerth has directed short films for fashion designers, and music videos for several pop musicians. She has directed commercials and web films for Revlon, Clinique, and Equinox.[citation needed]



Music videos[edit]


  1. ^ "How I Started…17 – Ellen Von Unwerth". The GROUND Magazine. Retrieved 2018-04-01. 
  2. ^ "Ellen Von Unwerth Facts & Biography | famous-photographers.com". famous-photographers.com. Retrieved 2018-04-01. 
  3. ^ "Ellen Von Unwerth | Photography and Biography". www.famousphotographers.net. Retrieved 2018-04-01. 
  4. ^ Wetherbe, Jamie (24 October 2011). "Ellen von Unwerth's 'Photographs' mixes high fashion, sensuality". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 March 2017. 

External links[edit]