Ellen von Unwerth (German, b.1954) is a director and photographer who started out working as a fashion model. She was born in Frankfurt, Germany, and began modelling at 20. After being noticed by a photographer on the street, she moved to Paris to begin a career as a fashion model. During her years as a model, she felt that the industry was missing an element of freedom.

After receiving a camera as a gift from her boyfriend, she began to take her own pictures, which eventually led to an improvised photo shoot of her model colleagues in Africa.

Von Unwerth developed a passion for photography after seeing the published photos of her colleagues. She became famous for her work when Guess hired her to shoot an up-and-coming model, Claudia Schiffer. This photo shoot created a massive demand for her services in the industry. Read More

Von Unwerth then began working for leading magazines like VogueInterviewVanity FairThe FaceL'Uomo VogueI-D, and Twill. 1991, she won first prize at the International Festival of Fashion Photography. Over the years, she has photographed numerous celebrities and entertainers. One of her most famous pieces is a photoshoot of actress Drew Barrymore that was done for Playboy in 1995. Before that, she photographed a memorable shoot of Madonna for Vogue in 1993. Von Unwerth also has a long list of album cover work credited to her professional portfolio; this list includes Duran Duran's Liberty in 1990, Bananarama's Pop Life in 1991, Janet Jackson's The Velvet Rope in 1997, Dido's Life for Rent in 2003, Christina Aguilera's Back to Basics in 2006, and Britney Spears's Blackout in 2007. She also photographed the album covers Rated R and Talk ThatTalk for Rihanna.

Von Unwerth has also directed commercials and Internet-based films for companies such as Equinox, Clinique, and Revlon. She has also directed music videos and short films for various fashion designers. Some of her published books include Snaps (1994), Wicked (1999), Revenge (2003), and Fräulein (2009). 

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