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Ellen von Unwerth: Do Not Disturb!

We speak to the international photographer about the fantasy narrative of her recent personal project

Ellen von Unwerth’s latest exhibition, “Do Not Disturb!”, at the Michael Hoppen Gallery, focuses on fantasy, the erotic, and its ties with fashion. Set in the very American, very kitsch Madonna Inn, LA, and in keeping with her signature style, Unwerth’s images portray fantasy scenes with an erotic edge, as she explores her own fascination with the narratives behind closed hotel room doors. Prior to her forthcoming exhibition, Dazed catches up with the celebrated photographer to chat about the inspiration for her latest body of work.

Dazed Digital: Your work has always centred around the erotic, what about this theme entices you again and again?

Ellen von Unwerth:
Erotic is very playful and so are my images. There is something in every one you can tickle out, I always try to find this and play around with on my shootings.

DD: What narrative do you hope to convey?
Ellen von Unwerth
: I wanted every picture to have something of a movie still, so the viewer could imagine a story behind the people.Where are they coming from? Where are they going? Are they happy, sad, broke, lonely?

DD: There is a certain element of fantasy, was this intentional?

Ellen von Unwerth:
Yes. As it is a free and personal project I was able to do what I want! I am showing real women in surreal, fairy tale environments. Also, the girls are not your usual next door neighbours, (well who knows). They are show girls, models, actors, dominatrix...

DD: Are fashion and eroticism so closely connected?
Ellen von Unwerth:
Yes. Fashion helps a lot to express erotic and if you look at the fashion houses and designers, this is what they aim for.

The Do Not Disturb! exhibition runs from 21st June until 21st July, at the Michael Hoppen Gallery.