Ellen Von Unwerth Black and White Self Portrait

 

While looking into artist Amy Exton’s fave photographer, Charlotte Rutherford, last week, it reminded me I had my own favourite female photographer who I was yet to publicly crush over; none other than the erotic and energetic Ellen Von Unwerth.

I was first introduced to Ellen’s work in the 90’s, as a fashion-loving teen who also had a penchant for music videos and women looking and acting like badasses (how things never change!).  She photographed a lot of the women that I thought were hot shit, and her bold style caught my eye.  Her photos were high-flash, high-contrast and highly coloured.  Her female models were sexy but girly at the same time, and it looked like they were having a lot of fun.

 

Black and White photos of Kate Moss and Claudia Schiffer, by Ellen Von Unwerth c.1990's

Drew Barrymore in pastel colours and daisies in her hair, by Ellen Von Unwerth c.1990's

 

Some 20 years on from this, and I still get the same joy from her modern work as I did back then.  Ellen has the talent to explore female sexuality in a way that doesn’t objectify the model.  And if models or celebrities want to get a bit erotic in their shots, I would hope like hell they’d work with Ellen, instead of creeps like Terry Richardson (ugh).  Ellen’s erotic work tastes like cherry flavoured candy, rather than other ‘erotic’ work that tastes of bloody meat.  She brings a light playfulness back to the sexual conversation, and even though some of her images feature BDSM themes, the characters in her photos all project a feeling of pleasure, control and consent.

 

Emma Watson and Lana Del Rey, by Ellen Von Unwerth

Claudia Schiffer and Joseph Gordon Levitt, by Ellen Von Unwerth

Two models in lingerie having hedonistic fun in Paris, by Ellen Von Unwerth

 

Oh and not only is she a fantasmic photographer, she is also a brilliant fashion and music film director!  Check out her Vimeo channel for more hedonistic fun, dreamed up from Ellen’s brain.

Ellen’s work is full of fun, humour and characterised movement.  It doesn’t take itself seriously, and erotic silliness is something this world needs.  While we all still debate what it is or isn’t to be a woman, and how sexual or not is safe or appropriate, Ellen’s work cuts through all of that and says “Be all the things! Be free!”.

 

Model Chloe Hayward pressing a kiss against a glass window and cooking pasta in lingerie, by Ellen Von Unwerth

Three models in dirndls tuck into a giant pretzel while another drinks from a bottle of vodka, by Ellen Von Unwerth

 

This is why I can’t get enough of Ellen’s work.  It’s sexy, smart and oh-so-fun, and is a window into a wild and free world we can visit in our hedonistic dreams 

 

 

 

Sources: 1, 2