A take on fashion photography made by women for women.
A young blond girl dances over a model ‘89 of a convertible Mercedes’ hood, her long hair swings and sharpens her playful smile, her face marked by her naked inviting arms lead your stare to her waist. This is sexy yet elegant. She flows in confidence and control.
That’s one of the most iconic Guess spots starring Claudia Schiffer photographed by Ellen von Unwerth. A scene that made this duo famous worldwide, not to mention many years later her work still quite “anonymous” compared to the predominant male fashion photographers.
When thinking about fashion photography it’s usual to relate it with names such as Helmut Newton, Mario Testino, David LaChapelle, Peter Lindbergh or Terry Richardson. Men and more men who made the female body their means of artsy research and therefore the “object” expressing their inner desire for expression. Some of them made it gently, some fiercely and violent. Anyway, always putting women at the center of their work production.
Even if there’s still the road to drive and field to gain, lately, less naive and empowered female characters are breaking it in the fashion industry and this time I want to highlight German photographer Ellen von Unwerth. She went from modeling to shooting with a unique style, in a way girls take the role being beautiful, luxurious, feminine, elegant but most of all, they act far away from submission and naivety.
Unwerth recreates and shows a statement that screams women are themselves without taboos or lashing, through fashion magazines like Vogue, i-D and Vanity Fair; meaning many people can react to it and see her conception. Plus her prolific work in short films, books, movies and video clips alongside Beyoncé, Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, and Fergie.
According to Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth lost her parents when she was just two years old, she had to leave Frankfurt, the city where she was born, to live in a Bavaria’s orphanage and later on, she lived nomad adolescence in Munich. Those life experiences made her strong and served her as a source of inspiration that turned her into a great female player in the industry. Thank you, Ellen, for giving us a show of what we can do.
Do you have a favorite female fashion photographer? Reach out and let me know in the comments!