Since our last "100" issue, Ellen von Unwerth has opened a studio in New York, and her fashion work, showcased in Vogue, has matured. Her well-received 1995 collection of fashion photos, Snaps, will soon be joined by a second book, which should give her fans a surprise: Titled Couples, it will feature new pictures of people and animals.Information credit thanks to here.
Von Unwerth brings an energetic femininity to fashion photography--call it girl power. The models in her pictures seem to have real identities, and the photos often convey a sexuality without reducing the subjects to sex objects. Von Unwerth can relate to models because she used to be one. "People couldn't believe it when I took my first pictures because they think models are stupid," she says. "When I'm shooting, even if what I see is not so great, I keep taking pictures to make the model feel good and to give her self-esteem. I like the women to be strong, even if they're looking raunchy or are in a bordello; they always know what they're doing."
The key is letting the models move. "When I was a model, most photographers liked to keep me in one position and I found that frustrating," explains von Unwerth. "So I give the people I shoot as much freedom as possible to be spontaneous." Hence, a favorite moment from a recent Vogue shoot in Mexico. "Naomi Campbell pricked her leg on a cactus, so she lifted her long dress really high in order to scratch it," von Unwerth says. "I snapped the picture and I think it's a very real moment, but I'm absolutely sure that vogue won't use that shot because her dress is wrinkled."--M.K.
Photo credit thanks to here and here.