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FRÄULEIN BY ELLEN VON UNWERTH
WORDS BY ANGEL BAKER
ALL IMAGES FROM FRÄULEIN AVAILABLE AT TASCHEN.COM
© ELLEN VON UNWERTH | ART + COMMERCE
 

Fräulein, the new coffee table book by renowned photographer, Ellen von Unwerth, captures a bygone era of sparkles, sequins, and vaudevillian stage performances when women weren’t afraid of serious glam. The 482-page, limited edition collection celebrates vibrant, beautiful, unapologetically single women in an intimate voyeuristic fashion with the up-close and personal approach that von Unwerth has mastered. As a former model, her experience in front of the camera lends to her subjects a vulnerability and familiarity that gives her work a unique duality. Her subjects are exquisitely groomed, in haute couture and Technicolor, yet they feel natural, relaxed, and playful.

Billed as a collection of work from the last 15 years, von Unwerth’s newest production feels as timeless as the seductive cat and mouse chase games she portrays. Her child-like obsession with fantasy and play can be traced back to the lore-like tale of a youth spent in foster care in Bavaria and the circus, which she joined out of high school with wide eyes. The visual kaleidoscope of the big top stayed with von Unwerth as did the wonder of her first visit to a place full of acrobats, magic, and spectacle. In Fräulein, she recalls the glamour and pageantry of the circus and combines it with a pure sexuality that is unparalleled by most modern photographers.

Stylish and adventurous, Fräulein is an exquisite compilation of von Unwerth’s artistry. Claudia Schiffer, Anna Tokarska, Milla Jovovich, Iris Palmer, Kate Moss, Dita Von Teese, and Britney Spears make up some of the sensual eye candy found in its pages. Von Unwerth’s portrayal of these iconic women is stunning in this “director’s cut” selection of work. She has transformed her model, singer, and actor subjects into an eternal portrait of the most beautiful women of our time. Von Unwerth’s ability to bring out the sensual side of these women says much more about her as a person than her ability to point and shoot. She has a knack for naughty; a talent for tawdry; a penchant for role-play. This woman knows what’s sexy and in Fräulein she lets us take a peek.

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