If you don’t know Ellen Von Unwerth, then you should.
She’s my favourite photographer ever – bold, sexual and engaging. I had one of her prints on my wall at fifteen years of age. Sorry Mum.
Born in Frankfurt in 1954, and orphaned at the age of two, she spent time in foster care in Bavaria.
She was a lonely little one and this influenced her, making her “strong and open to all kinds of people. I love getting to know people and celebrating life through photography”, she has said.
Ellen lived in a Munich commune and was discovered as she walked down a Munich street. A modelling career beckoned, and she followed it to Paris, where she became a resident, or as Vogue described her, ‘more than half French’.
On location in Kenya in 1984, Ellen picked up a camera and took photos of the other models. It turned into something else. Five years later, she shot an unknown German girl for Guess. That model was Claudia Schiffer, and for both of them, the shoot was a career-defining moment.
And if you don’t believe me, scroll through a few of her photographs.