ELLEN VON UNWERTH
The unanimous admiration we give her nowadays isn't overrated. The triumph of the picture shows of a unique and instinctive photographic writing. Here, the light is powerful and the colour bright. Ellen von Unwerth knows how to associate photographic talent and sense of humour, sometimes openly provocative, manipulating the world of fantasy and desires, making the image of the sexy and naive woman a common place. Such as the music of Beethoven, strength is playing with sensuality, with all romanticism. Combining the denuded woman with a voluntarily soft sense of humour, the artist doesn't compromise, there isn't any fragility or any subtlety but only strength. Desire then appears with violence until it leads to concupiscence. Ellen is powerful because she is determined, she doesn't let herself being distracted by nothing obscure or complex, she isn't looking for a tormented balance.
The force of attraction of the artist lies for a great deal in her virtuosity: her mastery of technique and her knowledge of femininity give her a power of infatuation unequaled in front of the classical photographers, from whom she stands out with her personal reflexion on the way she perceives things and experiments her own point of view.
Her paintings merge into the colours of the world until they project the viewer, a passive witness, into burlesque and comic scenes.
A collection of women adds to this inventory of paintings. This is what it is about, Ellen's pictures are an ode to femininity. Women, models, often big-screen celebrities, top models or professional models sometimes allude to great cosmopolitan missus, a wink to Helmut Newton, sometimes to stereotyped characters from cartoons or movies.
Ellen started at the Roncalli circus before she became a model and gradually stepped behind the camera. She discovered her passion for photography in Paris after ten years as a model. Familiar with the fashion world, she then works for the greatest fashion magazines. She makes many shots of feminine celebrities and glamorous icons such as Claudia Schiffer (the shot which will launch her career), Vanessa Paradis or Dianna Agron. Her pictures are used for legendary fashion covers and her collaborations with great brands are countless. Even if she often works with the same partners, the stories she writes all have a proper identity.
Can you describe your photographic approach, in a few words?
While respecting the cinematographic style, I try to give to my images an instantaneous character, taken on the spot. I am especially looking for spontaneity, liveliness and sensuality.
What is your relationship to the body?
There is nothing more aesthetic than a beautiful body, the major subject since the origins of art. I like to seize and capture the person in motion while telling a story. And almost never without a pair of high heels. To create a posture of strength. In all the series that you have created, we notice that women remain your main subject, while the man is absent or relegated to a second role. Why ? I would not say that I find male models silly, given the number of extraordinary male models I was able to shoot during my career. But for me, it's more interesting to highlight the beauty and personality of women, to play with makeup and fashion. My universe is a world of women with accessories ... men!
What would models say about you?
Probably that my shootings are very fun, I ask my models to move, to play scenarios. They love to show off their sexy and mean side. For the rest, you have to ask one of my models! What is the difference between nude and eroticism in photography? I think the two terms simply do not have the same meaning. A nude can be erotic or not, everything lies in the way it is shot, grabbed, shown and seen. To qualify something as "erotic", it has to be in the eye of the beholder. It can then be a gesture, a detail, something almost invisible. Anyway, I'm not trying to create erotic images, but to capture women in fun and strong situations, having everything under control ...
- Meet Ellen von Unwerth in Normal Magazine n°9 -