Photographer and director Ellen von Unwerth captures sensuality in the subjects she shoots. Citing Helmut Newton as an influence, von Unwerth imprints her habitual aesthetic of feminine erotica into her images. With her work featured in publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, Interview, and i-D, she is a well-known figure in the industry. In addition to her skill for stills, von Unwerth is known for directing short fashion-oriented films and music videos. From moving pictures to solitary ones, her deliberate employment of black and white adds romance and nostalgia to her subject matter.
Though I wouldn’t necessarily call this photo shoot inappropriately erotic, it definitely feels evocative of early nude photography. I love the grainy quality of the photos paired with Nadja Auermann’s pale skin, heavy makeup, and sleek, slicked-back hair. Von Unwerth’s work definitely fosters my interest in the body as an art form, and encourages me to purchase Helmut Newton: Sumo, Ellen von Unwerth: Fraulein, and Taschen’s 1000 Nudes.
There is so much visually stimulating and emotionally fraught goodness in the original Valley of the Dolls movie that I hardly know where to begin. For those unfamiliar with the ’60s film, based on a best-selling book by Jacqueline Susann, it tracks the downfall of three young women whose lives revolve around cinema, the stage, relationships, and stardom. I’ve determined the three superlative aspects that truly define the film are style, scene, and sensation.
The atmosphere/mood, environments, and costume choices were all sources of inspiration for me. The clothes and interiors are timeless, simultaneously serving as a souvenir of the era, while the cinematography turned certain segments into pure art. It’s impossible to isolate scene from style or style from sensation, since they’re all interwoven to paint a portrayal of imperfection, self-destruction, and ostentatiousness. Because of this, I snapped every still I could to impart the perfection that this movie encapsulates.