Ellen von Unwerth (Germany, b. 1954)

Ellen von Unwerth is a director and photographer whose bold and erotic images of women have left an indelible mark on the visual landscape of the fashion world. Born in Frankfurt, von Unwerth was a model in Paris for nearly a decade before turning to photography. Her 1989 images of Claudia Schiffer for a Guess jeans campaign, echoing the playfully feminine style of 1950s pinups, earned both Schiffer and von Unwerth wide attention. Over the years, her work has been featured regularly in magazines like Interview, Vanity Fair, Vogue, I-D, and The Face, appearing on covers and in both editorial and commercial contexts. In 1991, she won first prize at the International Festival of Fashion Photography.


Von Unwerth’s 1995 photoshoot of Drew Barrymore for Playboy magazine is among her most popular work and, coupled with an array of album covers for such artists as Janet Jackson and Britney Spears, gave her standing as a celebrity photographer beyond the borders of the fashion world. Von Unwerth’s pictures have a distinctive look and feel, with saturated colors and dense compositions, while also, in certain cases, paying homage to great photographers of the 20th century. The 2015 Tree of Love, Bavaria, in which a nude model reclines inside the heart-shaped hollow of an enormous decaying trunk, recalls Edward Weston’s sensuous use of the body’s geometry in his compositions. And the dramatically lit Tic Tac Toe from 2010, showing a scantily clad woman posing on a city street at night, evokes Helmut Newton’s atmospheric photograph of a model wearing Yves St. Laurent’s Le Smoking jacket, shot for French Vogue in 1975.


Von Unwerth has published several books of her photographs, including Revenge, in 2003, and Fräulein, in 2009. Those volumes have been joined this year by one showcasing the photos of her new series “Heimat,” in which she playfully combines visual tropes of traditional Bavarian life with her signature eroticism and wit. She is represented by several dealers, including the Staley-Wise Gallery, in New York, and Galerie Trabant, in Kitzbühel, Austria.

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Fanfare, Bavaria
Fanfare, Bavaria
Ellen von Unwerth
2010s Contemporary Color Photography
Archival Pigment Print
Four girls in Dirndl playing Music in a traditional Bavarian cottage. In "Heimat" (german for homeland) invites viewers on a photographic journey through her childhood homeland of Bav...
The Story of Olga II
The Story of Olga II
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Nude Photography
Classical nude picture of a model from behind in a corset next to an ancient bust sculpture. Ellen von Unwerth is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her...
The Story of Olga – Smoke
The Story of Olga – Smoke
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Nude Photography
Provocative nude picture of a masked model smoking and wearing lingerie. Ellen von Unwerth is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her artistic achievemen...
The Story of Olga I
The Story of Olga I
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Nude Photography
Provocative nude picture of the feast – from the famous “The Story of Olga” series. Ellen von Unwerth is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her artistic...
Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Black and White Photography
Portrait of the supermodel wearing sequined Mickey Mouse ears. PREISS FINE ARTS is one of the world’s leading galleries for fine art photography representing the most famous contempora...
Kate Moss Cinema
Kate Moss Cinema
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Black and White Photography
Portrait of the iconic supermodel, wearing glasses and a white coat. PREISS FINE ARTS is one of the world’s leading galleries for fine art photography representing the most famous cont...
Nudes at Royalton
Nudes at Royalton
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Black and White Photography
Picture of two models in stockings and high heels slipping the tops over their heads. PREISS FINE ARTS is one of the world’s leading galleries for fine art photography representing the...
Peaches
Peaches
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Black and White Photography
Three sexy models in vintage style eating fruits. Ellen von Unwerth is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her artistic achievements have been honored wi...
Bavarian Girls - Heimat series
Bavarian Girls - Heimat series
Ellen von Unwerth
2010s Color Photography
Three models in red and brown traditional costumes doing kitchen work for cooking in the alpine mountains of Bavaria, Germany. Ellen von Unwerth is one of the most famous and influenti...
Freshly Bloomed
Freshly Bloomed
Ellen von Unwerth
2010s Color Photography
Colorful portrait of four models in bathing suits, styled in 50s French Riviera style. Ellen von Unwerth - the female Helmut Newton - is one of the most famous and influential photogra...
Conchita, photographed by Ellen von Unwerth
Conchita, photographed by Ellen von Unwerth
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Color Photography
Art nouveau masterpiece the „Goldene Adele“ by Gustav Klimt interpreted with a portrait of Austrian singer and drag queen Conchita. Corresponding to the original measurements of “Adele...
Necklace
Necklace
Ellen von Unwerth
2010s Color Photography
Picture of two models with red lips wearing traditional Bavarian costumes and big necklaces in the alpine mountains of Bavaria, Germany. Ellen von Unwerth is one of the most famous and...
Tree of love, Bavaria 2015
Ellen von Unwerth
2010s Contemporary Black and White Photography
Archival Pigment Print
Naked female is sitting in a trunk that looks like a heart and shows her back. In "Heimat" (german for homeland) invites viewers on a photographic journey through her childhood homelan...
Playboy Bunnies, New York
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Black and White Photography
Silver Gelatin Print
Signed by the photographer.
Beating it - while it's hot, Bavaria 2015
Ellen von Unwerth
2010s Contemporary Black and White Photography
Archival Pigment Print
Naked female blacksmith works with hammer and anvil to create an iron spider sculpture In "Heimat" (german for homeland) invites viewers on a photographic journey through her childhood...
Kate Moss Shopping III
Kate Moss Shopping III
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Color Photography
Iconic supermodel Kate Moss drinking milk in front of groceries and a fridge. Ellen von Unwerth is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her artistic achie...
Kate Moss Shopping
Kate Moss Shopping
Ellen von Unwerth
Early 2000s Color Photography
Supermodel Kate Moss in front of a fridge wearing a light pink negligee and coat and holding a cucumber as a phallus symbol. Ellen von Unwerth is one of the most famous and influential...
Kate Moss Shopping II
Kate Moss Shopping II
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Color Photography
Supermodel Kate Moss in a kitchen in front of groceries and a fridge wearing a light pink negligee and coat and wiping her face off after drinking milk. Ellen von Unwerth is one of the...
The big catch, Bavaria 2015
Ellen von Unwerth
2010s Contemporary Color Photography
Archival Pigment Print
Two girls fishing on a boat wearing "Dirndl" at the Eibsee in Bavaria, Germany. In "Heimat" (german for homeland) invites viewers on a photographic journey through her childhood homela...
Sack Race
Sack Race
Ellen von Unwerth
2010s Nude Photography
Beautiful nude picture of three girls showing their buttocks at a sack race in the green meadows of the alpine mountains of Bavaria, Germany. Ellen von Unwerth is one of the most famou...
Heimat
Heimat
Ellen von Unwerth
2010s Color Photography
Picture of a girl with red stockings and a thong from behind on a hiking way in Bavaria, Germany. In the foreground the blue sky and a green meadow, a alpine cabin and the mountains. ...
Morning Beauty (Claudia Schiffer)
Morning Beauty (Claudia Schiffer)
Ellen von Unwerth
Late 20th Century Color Photography
Nude picture of supermodel Claudia Schiffer in Brigitte Bardot look, holding a pink curtain. Ellen von Unwerth is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her...
Claudia Schiffer in Bathtub
Claudia Schiffer in Bathtub
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Black and White Photography
Portrait of supermodel Claudia Schiffer in 60s style with her hair up like Brigitte Bardot. Ellen von Unwerth is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her ...
Snow White
Snow White
Ellen von Unwerth
2010s Color Photography
Erotic nude portrait of a model on a blue blanket in Bavaria, Germany. Ellen von Unwerth - the female Helmut Newton - is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the wor...
We can do it!
We can do it!
Ellen von Unwerth
2010s Black and White Photography
Strong portrait of three models in red traditional Bavarian, Germany, dresses. Ellen von Unwerth - the female Helmut Newton - is one of the most famous and influential photographers in...
Eva in Bed
Eva in Bed
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Nude Photography
Nude portrait of the supermodel in bed smoking, styled like Marilyn Monroe. Ellen von Unwerth is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her artistic achieve...
Cherry Kiss
Cherry Kiss
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Nude Photography
Erotic nude picture of two models with masks kissing each other. Ellen von Unwerth - the female Helmut Newton - is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. He...
the Last Tango
the Last Tango
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Nude Photography
Erotic nude picture of two models dancing. Ellen von Unwerth - the female Helmut Newton - is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her artistic achievement...
Punishment
Punishment
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Black and White Photography
Provocative nude picture of two models with masks and whip. Ellen von Unwerth - the female Helmut Newton - is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her art...
Easy Rider
Easy Rider
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Black and White Photography
Sexy nude picture of two models riding a motorcycle. Ellen von Unwerth - the female Helmut Newton - is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her artistic a...
Carla Bruni Smoking
Carla Bruni Smoking
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Black and White Photography
Nude portrait of supermodel Carla Bruni in Parisian chic. Ellen von Unwerth - the female Helmut Newton - is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her artis...
Upstairs
Upstairs
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Black and White Photography
Semi-nude model in lingerie from behind ascending a staircase. Ellen von Unwerth - the female Helmut Newton - is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her ...
Rossy de Palma and Azzedine Alaïa for Yo Dona Maga...
Ellen von Unwerth
2010s Black and White Photography
Silver Gelatin Print
This photograph is an edition of 15. All editions are signed by the photographer. Larger sizes may be available upon request.
Sophia Loren, New York
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Black and White Photography
Silver Gelatin Print
This photograph is an edition of 15. All editions are signed by the photographer. Larger sizes may be available upon request.
Mask: Nadja Auermann, VOGUE UK, Paris
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Black and White Photography
Silver Gelatin Print
This photograph is an edition of 7. All editions are signed by the photographer. Larger sizes may be available upon request.
Penelope Cruz, Paris
Ellen von Unwerth
Early 2000s Black and White Photography
Silver Gelatin Print
This photograph is an edition of 15. All editions are signed by the photographer. Larger sizes may be available upon request.
The Mask (Nadja Auermann)
The Mask (Nadja Auermann)
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Black and White Photography
Portrait of supermodel Nadja wearing a lace mask over her face. Ellen von Unwerth - the female Helmut Newton - is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. He...
Naomi Campbell Shaving
Naomi Campbell Shaving
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Black and White Photography
Portrait of supermodel Naomi Campbell in a bathroom. Ellen von Unwerth - the female Helmut Newton - is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her artistic ...
Karen, Nina, Danny, and Anne, New York
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Black and White Photography
Silver Gelatin Print
This photograph is an Edition of 15. All editions are signed by the photographer. Larger sizes may be available upon request.
Disco Hat
Disco Hat
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Black and White Photography
Disco hat worn by a model, sticking the tongue out. Ellen von Unwerth is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her artistic achievements have been honored ...
Embrace
Embrace
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Black and White Photography
Nude models covered with mud embracing each other. Ellen von Unwerth - the female Helmut Newton - is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her artistic ach...
Penelope Cruz smoking Cigar
Penelope Cruz smoking Cigar
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Black and White Photography
Star actress Penelope Cruz smoking a cigar. Ellen von Unwerth - the female Helmut Newton - is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her artistic achievemen...
Claudia Schiffer
Claudia Schiffer
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Portrait Photography
Supermodel in corset in Brigitte Bardot style. Ellen von Unwerth - the female Helmut Newton - is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. Her artistic achieve...
Mimi & Ivy
Mimi & Ivy
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Black and White Photography
Mysterious black and white picture of two models wearing black masks. One is holding her finger in front of her mouth. Ellen von Unwerth - the female Helmut Newton - is one of the mos...
Maid Stockings
Maid Stockings
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Black and White Photography
Stunning black and white picture of a maid wearing stay-up stockings and lying on a sofa stretching her leg in the air. Ellen von Unwerth is one of the most famous and influential pho...
Carla Bruni Lavazza
Carla Bruni Lavazza
Ellen von Unwerth
Late 20th Century Black and White Photography
Glamourous black and white portrait of supermodel Carla Bruni wearing big earrings in a pool. She’s smoking and on the edge of the pool stands a cup with an Espresso coffee. Ellen von...
Kate Moss II
Kate Moss II
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Color Photography
Black and white portrait of supermodel Kate Moss wearing a sequin top with her left nipple out. Ellen von Unwerth is one of the most famous and influential photographers in the world. ...
Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Black and White Photography
Stunning black and white nude picture of supermodel Naomi Campbell sitting on a bench, wearing sneakers and bended forwards. Ellen von Unwerth - the female Helmut Newton - is one of t...
Claudia Schiffer
Claudia Schiffer
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Black and White Photography
Beautiful black and white full body portrait of supermodel Claudia Schiffer coming through a door with her blazer open. Ellen von Unwerth - the female Helmut Newton - is one of the mos...
Little Beast 2
Little Beast 2
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Color Photography
Provocative picture of two women in rose underwear on a sofa. They are disguised and the right one wears bunny ears and holding a leash. The left left is chained and wears a pink wig. ...
Eva Herzigova smoking
Eva Herzigova smoking
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Portrait Photography
Beautiful black and white portrait of supermodel Eva Herzigova wearing a black cylinder hat and blowing smoke out of her mouth. She is styled in garconne look. Ellen von Unwerth - the ...
Mission Accomplished
Ellen von Unwerth
2010s Color Photography
Archival Pigment Print
Signed by the photographer.
Smoke
Smoke
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Nude Photography
Strong black and white nude portrait of supermodel Nadja Auermann in a chic Parisian look with a cigarette in her mouth. She has smokey eyes, dark lipstick reminding of the roaring 20's...
Kate Moss with Letter
Kate Moss with Letter
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Black and White Photography
Great full body black and white portrait of young supermodel Kate Moss on a balcony holding a letter with thoughtful gaze. She is wearing a long coat and looks down. Kate Moss is styled...
Milla Jovovich
Milla Jovovich
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Photography
Great portrait of supermodel Milla Jovovich wearing a drivers cap and a bow tie in front of a turquoise background. Her lips are red with her tongue out. Ellen von Unwerth is one of t...
Meow, Jessica Chastain
Meow, Jessica Chastain
Ellen von Unwerth
21st Century and Contemporary Photography
Great portrait of redhead actress and Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain wearing a lace hairband with cat ears in front of a turquoise/blue background. She is wearing a sparkling necklace a...
Claudia Schiffer as Barbie
Claudia Schiffer as Barbie
Ellen von Unwerth
1990s Color Photography
Supermodel Claudia Schiffer sitting on a silk covert chair and dressed as a real life Barbie in front of a pink background. She is wearing black over knee boots and a fluffy black and w...
The Big Catch, Bavaria
Ellen von Unwerth
2010s Landscape Prints
The Big Catch, Bavaria, 2015 C-print on Fujiflex paper 70.8 x 47.2 in (180 x 120 cm) Edition of 3 The photographer Ellen von Unwerth worked as a top fashion model for 10 years, before ...