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Ellen von Unwerth

Devotion! 30 Years of Photographing Women

19 February — 29 August, 2021

Ellen von Unwerth is a well-known German photographer. During her 30 years long career, there has been a never-ending cavalcade of stars posing in front of her camera for photo sessions like no other. It’s all about having fun and erasing the boundary between fantasy and reality. Like a film director, von Unwerth creates a parallel universe where everything is possible, while always maintaining her professionalism. Since she took her first pictures during a modelling assignment in Africa some more than 30 years ago, she has produced a host of incredible images, nine photo books, an almost incalculable number of magazine’s covers and also various productions in her career as a film director, as well as created her own magazine that is distributed internationally.

The exhibition Devotion! 30 Years of Photographing Women is presented in series reflecting some emotional expressions: love, play, power, gender, lust, passion and drama. Here, your perception of the real world will be jolted. What is up and what is down, what is pleasurably sexy, what looks reprehensible and why do they seem to have so much fun? Whichever of those seven expressions her pictures portray, they are always approached in the lively, energetic, sensual style often with a slight humorous touch significant for Ellen von Unwerth. The exhibition also features films and video clips directed by von Unwerth.

“Much improves greatly if you play around with it. Don’t take things so seriously. Let life come to you instead of trying to control everything. I want energy and movement in my images, because that’s how life is. You can’t control it. It will always surprise you, if you let it, instead of constantly labelling experiences as either good or bad,” Ellen von Unwerth explains her work.

Her works have been exhibited worldwide, and are part of various collections.
Ellen von Unwerth won several prizes, amongst others the first prize at the International Festivalof Fashion Photography in 1991, and the Lucie Award in 2012. The exhibition is curated by Nadine Barth, barthouse Berlin.

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