Ellen Von Unwerth

Ellen von Unwerth is a German photographer best known for her playfully erotic images of female pop musicians and models. Born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1954, she was raised in various foster homes in Bavaria. She was discovered by a model-scout in Munich at 20 years old and relocated to Paris, where she earned a living as a model for the next 10 years before turning to photography. She currently lives and works in Paris, France.


Known for her casual, playful attitude on shoots, Von Unweth's lack of pretense is the key to why her photographs resonate – they feel warm, human and fun. Her photography revels in sexual intrigue, femininity, fetishism and sheer joie de vivre. Her subjects are never objectified, even though some may flaunt personal fantasies and others are guarded and secretive, suggesting that we have stumbled into a secret world. Fashion and fantasy are enthrallingly combined in a way no male photographer could dare.


Ellen Von Unwerth's work has been featured in numerous magazines and publications including Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Interview. Along with creating editorial and Fine Art work, she continues to produce dynamic short films, direct music videos, and create successful advertisement campaigns for brands such as Dior, John Galliano, Ralph Lauren, or Chanel.  Her photographs have been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide. In 2019/2020, the Fotografiska Museum in New York held a retrospective of her work.  

Image courtesy of the artist