Ellen von Unwerth started her career as the subject of photographs, but is now known for turning the tables and taking up a camera herself. After a decade-long modeling career (and a brief stint as a circus performer), the German-born von Unwerth taught herself to use a camera and, by the 1980s, had become a renowned fashion photographer. She has said that her own time as a model has allowed her to achieve the playfulness her pictures are famous for she knows what it's like to have to stand still, so she encourages the women she photographs to move and that sympathy has become part of the von Unwerth mythology. The result is a unique look at feminine sensuality. A woman in a von Unwerth photograph is not just an erotic figure she's a real person with a sense of humor and a fine appreciation for the joy of being naughty.
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