Photography provocateur Chris von Wangenheim was an expert in show stoppers – and even two decades after his death his evocative images hit like a freight train. Born in Berlin, von Wangenheim pursued photography after a stint studying architecture. Moving to New York in the mid-60s he cut his teeth working beside the lens of Harper’s Bazaar photographer James Moore, and quickly became a visionary in his own right. Creating countless advertisements for brands like Christian Dior and Calvin Klein alongside magazine shoots for American Vogue, Playboy and Warhol’s Interview, von Wangenheim is also renowned for his work with American supermodel Gia Carangi – whose career he launched after shooting her in the nude, standing behind a chainlink fence.
Considered one of the greatest fashion photographers of all time, his work was – and still is – titillating, exhilerating and evocative, standing on par with contemporaries like Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton before his untimely passing in 1981 at just 39. A lot of his images have remained unpublished until now, with Rizzoli set to release new tome GLOSS in his honour. With Marc Jacobs hosting the launch party in the most Marc way possible, the book features over 200 images alongside rarely seen and never-before-seen shots.
GLOSS The work of Chris von Wangenheim by Roger Padilha and Mauricio Padilha is published by Rizzoli next month