Ellen von Unwerth

Ellen von Unwerth
EllenVonUnwerth
Photographer
Born 1954
Frankfurt, Germany
Nationality German

Ellen Unwerth is a famous photographer and director specializing in erotic femininity. She has worked as a fashion model for 10 years before moving behind the camera. She now makes fashion, editorial, and advertising photographs. She became famous when she first photographed model Claudia Schiffer.

Her work has been published in top magazines such as Vanity Fair, Vogue, Twill, Interview, Arena, The Face, and I-D. She has also published several books on photography. In 1991, she won first prize at the International Festival of Fashion Photography. She has also directed short films for numerous fashion designers and music videos for several Clinique, Equinox and so many others, featuring celebrities.

Early Life

Ellen von Unwerth was born in 1954 in Frankfurt, Germany. Her childhood imagination ended up taking her all the way to the circus. Here, she was enthralled by one performance in Munich just after graduating from high school. Ellen was later hired to work as assistant. She performed regularly in several magic acts.

Modeling Career

A great photographer during this time talked to Ellen von Unwerth and requested that she become a model. Ellen was open to this idea and even travelled to Paris at the age of 20. She remained in front of a camera and even earned accolades, including being on the cover of Cosmopolitan.

However, Ellen did not enjoy the static feeling of this industry and always felt that a lot of freedom was missing. Her life changed after she was given a camera by her boyfriend and after a careful observation by her roommate who was a photographer. After a short while, she started taking her own photographs. This led to a sudden photo shoot in an African country. When these pictures were published, Ellen immediately found her new passion.

Growing a Photography Career

In 1989, Ellen hit her first stride as a professional fashion photographer. She was hired by Guess, the jeans manufacturer. Here, she created numerous print ads with a brand new model named Claudia Schiffer. This campaign made the model a great star and Ellen a very hot commodity. With time, Ellen would shoot many other Guess models such as Naomi Campbell, Eva Herzigova, and Paris Hilton. The photos ranged from black-and-white images to very colorful glamour shots.

Unwerth’s Major Works

Unwerth2After winning first prize at the International Festival of Fashion Photography in 1991, she earned her name as a famous fashion photographer. In the year 1993, Madonna was actually filmed for Vogue in series of elegant photos that captured her and her microphone.

Two years later, Ellen Von Unwerth participated in the revival career of Drew Barrymore by taking photos of her for January 1995 edition of Playboy magazine. This turned out to be one her most popular pieces. The pictures displayed a cheerful nature of this actress, while still adding a very sexy distinctive edge.

All through the 1990s, Ellen was very active in other types of media, but she still maintained her visual style. She even began directing music videos and released three photo books including Snaps in 1994 and Couples in 1998. These books featured some of her most eclectic works.

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