In my mind, there is a trinity of classic glamour and erotic photographers: Helmut Newton, Ellen Von Unwerth and Tatiana Gerusova.
Born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1954. Similar to famed glamour photographer Bunny Yeager, Von Unwerth began infront of the camera. Modelling in the 1980’s.
What elevated Von Unwerth’s profile were her now famous photographs for GUESS Jeans in the early 1990’s. Capturing Claudia Schiffer, Drew Barrymore and Anna Nicole Smith in sleek black and white photos, as a modern version of pin up. As to who Von Unwerth has worked with, it would be far shorter to list who she has not worked with. Rose McGowan, Dita Von Teese, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, Fergie, Duran Duran, Dido, Britney Spears, Demi Moore and Emma Watson. If you are a reader of high-end fashion magazines such as ‘Vogue, ‘The Face’, ‘I-D’, and ‘Interview’; you would have been exposed to many Von Unwerth’s plush pictorials. Much like the rest of Von Unwerth’s professional prey, advertisers want her to add a glossy sheen to an array of goods including Chanel, Dior, Lavazza, Miu Miu, Diesel, Tommy Hilfiger, Thierry Mugler, Alberta Ferretti and Mercedes.
Von Unwerth’s nod to classic fetishism is found not only in her fashion pictorials but in her books. ‘Revenge’ and ‘Story of Olga’ especially, indulge in the play of erotisim that is ravishing and titilating. Her work turning Eva Herzigova in Bettie Page are a particular high point.
Being one of the most in demand photographers in the world has not ruined her vision of beauty and femininty. It would appear that everyone wants the Von Unwerth touch, to be made into something more than before. To be extraordinary, elevate the subject to the next of enchantment. To this end Von Unwerth is an undisputed mistress.