Ellen von Unwerth teaches Photography via Xpert

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About Ellen von Unwerth

Ellen von Unwerth, a German photographer and director, specializing in erotic femininity. She has been a fashion model for ten years before becoming a photographer, and now makes fashion, editorial, and advertising photographs.

Connect with Ellen von Unwerth's life

  • What’s the difference between seeing one of your images in a book or magazine to seeing them in an exhibition context?
  • What’s your favourite image in the exhibition, Ladyland?
  • In what way, do you think your work empowers women?
  • What did you see in Claudia Schiffer that you loved?
  • What was Rihanna like to photograph?
  • Can you tell the difference in the way men and women photograph women?
  • How do you ensure your subject is relaxed in states of undressed?
  • What do you think the difference between nude pictures that objectify women and nude pictures that empower?
  • Multiple fashion photographers have been accused of sexual harassment over the last few months. What’s your response to that?
  • What is the future of seductive fashion photography in the Me Too and Time’s Up era?
  • Have you ever been treated differently because of your gender?
  • Which women do you find interesting to photograph today?
  • How do you feel about selfies?
  • What’s your take on Instagram?
  • Of all the people who have photographed, who has been the most unforgettable?
  • What are the ingredients of a successful Ellen von Unwerth picture?
  • The way you portray women can sometimes be erotic, almost provocative. Are you never afraid of being misunderstood, of going too far?
  • What are the pictures you haven’t taken yet that you wish to take?
  • What would be your advice to a young photographer starting today?
  • How did you select the pictures for Ladyland?
  • How did the exhibition Ladyland come about?
  • Of the selection, is there one that stands out as a true favourite in your exhibition, Ladyland?
  • When you started out, the fashion industry was pretty male-dominated when it came to the likes of designers and photographers, some of whom stepped over the line of what’s appropriate. What do you make of it all?
  • How do you see the industry changing in light of the revelations?
  • You’re crediting with helping to launch the careers of the likes of Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, and Eva Herzigova. What were they like back then?
  • Are there any girls on your radar at the moment who have the elusive ‘thing’ you saw in the supers?
  • What’s next, after Ladyland?
  • Is there anyone you’d really like to shoot that you haven’t yet?
  • What is your favourite photography technique or style?
  • If you look at your pictures an erotic element plays an important role. Or is sensuality the better word?
  • When is a picture finished? You once said that when you started taking photographs, it was very important to develop the images, edit and retouch them yourself. What role do you play after the photograph has been taken?
  • You initially said that this S Magazine project was fairly large. What did you like about it, or do you prefer working on smaller stories?
  • How much freedom do you usually have with ­contract work?
  • What you have done for this S Magazine is both ­nostalgic and modern all at once. Do you see the images as capturing the zeitgeist or as something more timeless?
  • How did you get the idea for the issue of S Magazine?
  • Before digital, it felt like fashion photography had a huge influence on the fine art world and vice versa. Do you think it’s possible that the onset of digital created a chasm between fashion and art or are they closer related than ever?
  • Are there any young photographers whose work you are excited by?
  • What does being iconic mean to you?
  • Having longevity in your business is no small feat. What’s your secret?
  • What advice would you give to yourself if you were just starting out in the business?
  • Your latest book with Taschen, Heimat is available just this month. With that project complete, what’s next for you?
  • Has the process or philosophy behind how you create or approach a shoot changed from when you started to now?
  • We lost far too many important artists last year, some of whom you’ve worked with. Is there an artist you wish you had the opportunity to shoot but didn’t?
  • What is the best way that you’ve found to relax?
  • What is your favourite travel destination?

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