Global Toronto Nov 2 2012
Global Toronto Nov 2 2012
Stileggendo….Spunti Di Vista – Ellen Von Unwerth
VENERDÌ 27 APRILE 2012
Ellen von Unwerth è una fotografa e regista tedesca, specializzata nell’erotismo femminile.
Claudia Schiffer, Carla Bruni e Victoria Beckham sono solo alcuni dei volti celebri raffigurati sulle pareti della Galleria Yorkville di Izzy, che accoglierà la prima mostra della celebre fotografa tedesca a Toronto.
Le sue fotografie sono state pubblicate su riviste come Vogue, Vanity Fair, Interview, The Face, Twill, Arena, L’Uomo Vogue ed I-D, e lei stessa ha pubblicato numerosi libri fotografici. Nel 1991 ha vinto il primo premio al Festival internazionale della fotografia di moda.
ET Canada – Ellen Von Unwerth Celebrity Photographer
Flare.com – 11 ICONIC FASHION PHOTOS BY ELLEN VON UNWERTH
Greatest Hits: Ellen von Unwerth
Why did you decide to bring your work to Toronto?
National Post – Women on top: Germany’s Ellen von Unwerth brings her playfully provoking photos to Toronto
Matthew Wright, National Post
Claudia Schiffer, Carla Bruni and Victoria Beckham are just a few of the famous faces pictured high on the walls of Yorkville’s Izzy Gallery, ready for renowned German photographer Ellen von Unwerth’s first Toronto exhibition.
“I have a very loose kind of way shooting people,” von Unwerth says of the playful and provocative shots. “They are living in front of the camera more than posing for it.” The 58-year-old photographer is perhaps best known for the sensual tone of her work — images that the owner of the gallery, Izzy Sulejmani, says only a woman of von Unwerth’s nature could get away with taking.
“I love women, I love when they are proud of being feminine, sensual and empowered,” says the photographer, who worked as a model herself before making the switch to the other side of the lens.
Aside from “Nudes at the Royalton,” a shot of two bare-chested female models pulling sweaters over their heads, the closest any of the 14 photos on display will come to explicit nudity are two close-ups of a woman’s backside, one clad in a black Victorian corset and the other in a white one.
“It’s nice when art shocks people, because then they have something to say about it,” Sulejmani says. “A flower in a vase looks nice, but the conversation stops there.”
The most provocative shots in the exhibit, which opens April 20, are tame compared to von Unwerth’s more “European” pieces, some of which seem to challenge the line between art and pornography. But she says even her most raunchy fetish work, often depicting “power games,” is tasteful and their reception is less surprising to her native German and French audiences than may be the case in North America.
“I think Europeans have a different way of looking at nudity than Americans. For us it’s not a big deal, it’s our body,” von Unwerth says. “But it’s very different in America … I see most of my work as more fun than provocative.”
The prints on display are both inviting and easy to engage with. And despite their sexually charged content, the work is often contrasted with more conservative settings, which von Unwerth says are influenced by 1940s and ’50s photography.
“I love very old places, I don’t really like modern surroundings; and I love old bars and old hotel rooms,” von Unwerth says. “The atmosphere and the high heels and bras … it’s just fun and very sexy.”
Von Unwerth shot Schiffer’s first Guess ad in 1989, which helped propel them both into the international spotlight. On display at Izzy Gallery will be a photograph of the German supermodel admiring herself in the rearview mirror of a vintage car.
“I kind of discovered her; I created that glamorous look; it made her famous,” von Unwerth says, “and I guess it got my name out there, too.”
Von Unwerth says that part of what inspired her to become a photographer was the boredom she experienced with being “told to pose a certain way” during conventional fashion shoots.
“I hated it so much that now I try to do the opposite — to capture a lived moment in front of the camera.”
thestar.com – Celebrity photographer Ellen von Unwerth shines a light on fantasy
April 23, 2012 00:04:00
Last year at his Izzy Gallery at 106 Yorkville Ave., he presented exhibitions by Lillian Bassman, a champion of natural elegance, and Bert Stern, who famously distilled the mad, sad beauty of Marilyn Monroe.
Sulejmani now has another feather in his cap. On Thursday night, he hosted the opening of Caught!, a choice selection of images by Ellen von Unwerth, who earned her place in photography books by capturing female sexuality of a kicky, kinky, often comical and always liberating kind.
Interviewed before the opening of her Toronto show — which features a dozen or so large-scale prints, all but one in black and white — von Unwerth doesn’t present herself as one of the women in her sultry images.
With her mop of platinum hair, twinkling pale blue eyes, sunny disposition, fully buttoned-up clothes and tomato red nail polish, von Unwerth is not Victoria Beckham, whom she photographed in thigh-high fishnet hose. Nor is she Claudia Schiffer, looking all tousled in a lace bustier in the 1989 picture from the Guess campaign that established the names of both Schiffer and von Unwerth.
Then again, Schiffer is not the sex kitten seen in the picture either. “She’s not really like that,” says von Unwerth, “but she gives you that fantasy once you photograph her.”
To mark Guess’ 30th anniversary in retail, Schiffer appears in a new campaign that was again shot by von Unwerth. “In front of the camera, she still gives that little Brigitte Bardot thing,” says the photographer. “She’s very playful, super fun to photograph and very professional. You don’t find that so often these days.”
These days, what von Unwerth finds are models who are “very, very skinny” and “very, very young.” But she doesn’t lament the times. She has played under the big top long enough to know the circus moves on.
And the current fashion makes von Unwerth look better than ever. The trash that she has always relished — with an open mind and a winking eye — is now taken earnestly. Compared to Kim Kardashian and the housewives of Vancouver, a corseted Schiffer looks innocent, timeless and fresh.
It’s no wonder then that von Unwerth’s career seems refreshed. Time magazine recently included her on its list of All-Time 100 Fashion Icons. And just as the Guess campaign was attracting attention, von Unwerth was one of four artists invited to make short films marking the opening of a Joe Fresh store on New York’s Fifth Avenue. Hers will be a Russ Meyers-style escapade called Miami Vixens!
And next fall, von Unwerth, whose photos look like frozen frames from a motion picture, hopes to begin work on a feature-length movie.
Past the glamour of fashion and cinema, von Unwerth’s personal life is stable and low key. Born in Germany in 1954, she has homes in Paris and New York but lives mostly on a plane. For 22 years, she has been married to Christian Fourteau, a business person with interests in music. They have a daughter who will graduate from university next month with a degree in comparative literature.
While von Unwerth has always been a fan of Bardot and her movies, the photographer’s meeting with the icon was a banal encounter. She had gone to a cat shelter to adopt a pet, and there ran into the screen legend turned animal activist. “She was being interviewed for television. She still had the ’70s hair, with little dried flowers in the hair,” remembers Von Unwerth, who, proving her appreciation for the gift of being alive, adds, “It was kind of amazing.”
Elle Canada – Ellen von Unwerth in Toronto: In conversation with a top fashion photographer
April 23rd, 2012
Ellen von Unwerth, the rock star of fashion photography, is glancing around the Izzy Gallery in Yorkville, where life-sized photographs of her iconic shots cover the walls. She’s struggling to select her favourite snap. “They all have something I love in them,” she muses after a moment of hesitation. Then she points to a photograph of Italian actress Monica Bellucci, stripped down to a matching leopard-printed bra and panties. “This shot is from the first photo shoot I ever did with [Monica],” von Unwerth recalls with the sentimental attachment of a proud mother. “And she was actually just changing in the motor home. It was really its own moment. I’ve shot her so many times since but those pictures are still my favourite.”
That’s because von Unwerth— named one of TIME’s top 100 all-time fashion icons—prefers to capture “stolen moments” rather than posed portraits. For the first time since von Unwerth shot to fame in the ‘80s, the self-taught German photog is displaying a retrospective of her work in Toronto. A selection of the frisky, bombshell icons von Unwerth has snapped over the years, Caught! is a decadent visual walkthrough of old-school female glamour.
A von Unwerth signature
The thing about a von Unwerth photo is that it’s instantly recognizable. Take the iconic Claudia Schiffer Guess campaign from 1989, a prime example of von Unwerth’s trademark moody, eroticized aesthetic—a gorgeous woman teasing the camera with a mix of innocence and cheeky come-hither sensuality. “I always go for glamorous,” says von Unwerth, a vision herself in a gold sequined blazer and side-swept, piecey blond bun. “I don’t like the girl-next-door look.”
This year, von Unwerth and Schiffer revisited that timeless shoot for Guess’s 30th anniversary. “We tried to recreate those old pictures,” says von Unwerth, of the campaign, which was shot in Sorrento, Italy. “People sometimes don’t notice that it’s not the same campaign! Claudia still looks amazing.”
After spending a decade as a model, told to “be serious,” when she wanted to act silly in front of the camera, von Unwerth stepped behind the lens to direct her subjects instead. “When I finally became a photographer, I finally had that guts to do that,” she says. “I’m much more happy now.”
The Toronto show includes images from her iconic shoots with contemporary pin-ups like Carla Bruni, Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham. von Unwerth draws out the liberated prowess of her eclectic choice models, in her “trashy” but tasteful aesthetic. “Of course I prefer women who I know will be willing to play in front of the camera—most women like to be sexy and beautiful,” she says, pointing to Carli Bruni in decadent showgirl glory: shirt draped open, eyes veering down and away from the lens and a cigarette clasped between her long, elegant fingers. “I’m always looking for that simple thing,” von Unwerth says, still staring at the photo. “People change but I still love what I love.”
Fashion history in Toronto
After chasing von Unwerth to do the show for 10 months, Sulejmani spent another three months whittling down images to the select few now covering the walls of his sleek Yorkville gallery. “I love her work,” Sulejmani says, standing on the steps of the gallery on opening night, cigarette in hand. “It’s a fantasy world and she brings that fantasy to life.”
He draws the cigarette from his lips and lowers his voice to an almost whisper: “They say it breathes Paris.”
“Caught!” by fashion photographer Ellen von Unwerth is on now at Yorkville’s Izzy Gallery at 106 Yorkville Ave. until May 19.
National Post – Bert Stern: The complete picture
Manori Ravindran, National Post
Izzy Sulejmani can’t believe his luck. The Toronto gallery owner stares at a sparkling Marilyn Monroe image by photographer Bert Stern, displayed prominently in his Yorkville space. One of Sulejmani’s heroes, the reclusive Stern, famous for taking photos of Monroe six weeks before her death, is coming to the June 16 opening of JEWELS, a hotly anticipated exhibit of his work at Izzy Gallery.
“This is the top of the mountain to get Bert,” Sulejmani says. “The biggest thing is that he’s coming, because if it’s not New York or a big museum, he doesn’t go for his openings.”
Stern made his mark in the 1950s as an advertising photographer, achieving success with an image of an inverted Giza pyramid for Smirnoff vodka. After joining Vogue in the ’60s, he became one of the pre-eminent fashion photographers of the period.
In 1962, Stern took more than 2,600 photos of Monroe in a three-day period. The semi-nude and nude pictures of the actress were her last posed photographs. Stern’s portfolio came to be recognized as The Last Sitting, and was published in Vogue shortly after Monroe’s death.
Now in his eighties, Stern rarely accepts interviews and makes few public appearances. But there was something about the friendly gallery owner that he liked. Sulejmani says that after remaining largely silent during a New York City business lunch two months ago, the photographer said at the very end, “You’re OK, Izzy. I like you. I’ll see you in Toronto.” After signing the contract, Stern left.
In JEWELS — the first Canadian exhibit of Stern’s work — the photographer provides a new take on his iconic images of Monroe, Twiggy and Audrey Hepburn, among others. The artist has hand-applied crystals, sparkles and paint to large prints of his photographs, creating colourful, original vignettes. The Toronto show also presents a never-before-seen image of Monroe from The Last Sitting. Sprawled nude across an unmade bed, the actress smiles for Stern’s lens. In the background, the artist has adorned the image with red, yellow and blue fireworks.
Sulejmani is still getting used to the idea of Stern coming to the exhibit’s opening. Smiling, he looks around the gallery, where the photographer’s prints are mounted and ready.
“I can’t believe it,” he says. “Every day I call, asking if he’s coming. ‘Yeah, yeah, he’s coming,’ they tell me.”
thesceneinto.com – SCENE & HEARD: The Last Icon – An Evening With Bert Stern
June 20, 2011
Famed American photographer makes a rare public appearance at Izzy Gallery for the Toronto opening of JEWELS
Recognized for his unconventional techniques and multidisciplinary approaches in telling a story, Stern has been dubbed “the man who gives ideas an image”. Having built a career of epic proportions, even at nearly 82 years of age, Stern continues to push the boundaries and help redefine the subjects of his vast body of work. Through JEWELS Stern has reinvented some of his most iconic photographs. With the use of crystals and jewels overlaid on archival pigment print he proves that he not only knows what women want but he is on point in delivering what we females argue to be a simple wish list: to preserve our youth, to mollify our love of all things shiny, and to “get” us.
34 photographs starring some of the most beautiful and idolized women of our time – Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Twiggy alongside modern-day personalities such as Kate Moss and Lindsay Lohan – are frozen in time at their prime and iridescent with hand-applied jewels. The telling images inform viewers about these women more so then any article or interview.
The use of jewels are measured and placed strategically and with purpose. Viewing the images up-close and centre at the exhibit’s opening reception at Izzy Gallery in Yorkville, I saw the collection as a coronation of sorts; timeless beauties taking centre stage and commanding their place as symbols of a bygone era of glitz and glamour. The small and intimate space, teeming with the city’s well-heeled including Toronto’s own royalty – Jeanne Beker and Mark McEwan – were their admiring court.
The ultimate delight of the evening was having the opportunity to see and “meet” Mr. Stern himself. The reclusive artist who very rarely makes public appearances visited Canada for the first time after much encouragement from gallery owner, Izzy Sulejmani. A fan of Stern himself, Sulejmani compared the feat of securing Stern’s attendance as reaching the top of a mountain.
A man of few words, Stern did not agree to any interviews but that did not stop guests from surrounding him in stunned awe. Upon stepping into his 3-feet bubble – as brief as it was – to receive his autograph, I stumbled upon my own words of genuine gratitude.
Stern signs copies of his Marilyn Monroe: The Complete Last Sitting
Sulejmani shared with The Scene that he had asked Stern for years to do the piece, which now hangs in his gallery. Now complete, the photograph is resplendent. (Teaser: Sprawled nude across an unmade bed, the actress’ famous curves are highlighted in a luminous glow…and fireworks!)
Stern’s raw talent lies in his ability to capture the heartrending humanity of his subjects. Despite their celebrity he introduces to the world the real woman behind the mirage of fame. They are beautiful and confident but removed from the silver screen, they are also human. Vulnerable, filled with emotion, and flawed as indicated by the inclusion of an image of Monroe that was deemed unpublishable by the actress herself, x-ed in red marker.
Visit Izzy Gallery located at 106 Yorkville Avenue to view the JEWELS by Bert Stern exhibit. Don’t miss this very rare opportunity to view the work of the American prototype of the fashion photographer as media star. Trust us! Photographs simply do not do these masterpieces justice.
JEWELS runs until July 9th.
Gallery Hours: Sunday-Tuesday – by appointment only; Wednesday-Saturday – 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Pieces are available for sale; prices available upon request.
The MMM Blog – I MET BERT STERN!!
SATURDAY, JUNE 18, 2011
I am still trying to believe the opportunity that I got on June 16. The reclusive photographer, Bert Stern, was scheduled to attend the opening of his new exhibit “Jewels” in Toronto. Stern, 82, was set for his first visit to Canada to visit the Izzy Gallery where 34 of his photos are on display. A rare feat indeed for such a small intimate art gallery. I learned about Stern’s appearance by reading this online article the day before and immediately made plans to attend.
How is this for dedication – It took me 3 hours to get there with traffic and I stayed for 1 hour and immediately had to turn around and go another 2 hours to get home I was praying the whole time that Stern would not cancel and that he would be civil enough to sign a book for me. It was an experience in itself lugging my copy of The Complete Last Sitting through the subway and walking 4 blocks to get to the gallery.
The Izzy Gallery in located in an area of Toronto known as Yorkville. I had never been there before and was really taken by all the interesting restaurants and shops. There was a doorman at the gallery and as soon as I came through the door was offered some wine. Stern had not arrived yet so I walked around the room and looked at the photographs.
All of the photos were of well known personalities including; Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Kate Moss, Twiggy and of course Marilyn. I enjoyed seeing that he included one of his Lindsay Lohan (left) shots as well. All of the large scale photographs had been adorned by Stern with crystals, hence the name of the exhibit “Jewels”. Stern’s choice of photos were impressive, however, I don’t think the added sparkle worked for all of them. Sometimes I preferred the original untouched photo. One that I did like showed Marilyn holding up a scarf (above) and the added accents worked well.
There was media outside the gallery awaiting Stern’s arrival. When the cameras started flashing I knew that he was really here. He came inside looked at his work along one of the walls and then sat in one of two chairs in the center of the room. I didn’t see anyone else approaching him with a book to sign and was really worried as to how he’d react. I had a really bad experience with another Marilyn photog who refused to sign something so I was a little gun shy as it was. I was thrilled when a guy appeared with his own copy and broke the ice first. I could see Stern sign his book so I was up next.
I bent down and shook his hand. I told him I was a big fan of his work and it was truly a thrill to meet him and if he’d sign my book. He waved to hand him the book and asked my name. I was in total awe watching him sign the book. It was like he was painting a picture. He explained that the little V’s he added were birds. No idea what they represent but I’m thrilled to have them. I thanked him again and that was it.
I stood across from his chair for awhile and watched as the media came into the gallery. The local news was interviewing a young woman who appeared to be with Stern (not sure if it was his wife as I never saw the footage on TV). I noticed Jeanne Becker from Fashion TV crouch down in front of Stern and attempt to get an interview from him. She tried for some time but in the end gave up.
Riding back on the subway I kept looking at the invitation to the event and then the inscription in my book and realized just how amazing the night had been and how lucky I was.
If you live in the Toronto area you can visit Izzy Gallery and see Stern’s latest work until July 9, 2011.
Fashion Television – In Fashion : January 2012 : Art of the Photograph: Michael Dweck
Fashion Television has done a segment on Michael Dweck in January 2012.
Photo Life – Michael Dweck to be at Izzy Gallery
September 2, 2011 by Jenny
Toronto’s Izzy Gallery will present a retrospective exhibition of work from New York photographer Michael Dweck this fall. Opening November 17, the exhibition will feature works from Dweck’s latest series, Habana Libre, and from his acclaimed books and series, The End: Montauk N.Y. and Mermaids. His first major photography work, The End: Montauk N.Y., documented the surfing culture of that region, with its book form selling out in only two weeks. Dweck’s 2008 ethereal series and book, Mermaids, focused on the myth of the mermaid and theme of the female form in water. The artist will be in town for the opening exhibition which will coincide with the release of Habana Libre. Dweck’s photography has appeared in many publications, including Vanity Fair, Esquire, French Vogue, and The New York Times. His work was first showcased at Sotheby’s, New York, in 2003, in their first solo exhibition for a living photographer, and has been exhibited extensively throughout the world.
Canada Newswire – Toronto’s Izzy Gallery Presents Famed American Photographer Michael Dweck
TORONTO, Oct. 12, 2011 /CNW/ – Toronto’s Izzy Gallery is pleased to present MICHAEL DWECK: ISLAND LIFE, a retrospective of famed American photographer MICHAEL DWECK’s work in a three-week exhibit this fall. The acclaimed artist’s photographs have become part of important international art collections and shown in major solo gallery exhibitions around the world, in addition to being featured in Vanity Fair, Playboy, Esquire, French Vogue, Details, and The New York Times, amongst others. Dweck will be on hand during the opening reception, November 17th from 7-9 pm.
The MICHAEL DWECK: ISLAND LIFE exhibition coincides with the international release of Dweck’s third and latest book HABANA LIBRE (Damiani editore, $72). In addition to the Canadian debut of photographs from HABANA LIBRE, rare iconic photos from his previous works will be featured including “Sonya Poles” and “Dave and Pam in their Caddy” from THE END: MONTAUK N.Y. (2004) and a selection from MERMAIDS (2008).
“This exhibition marries the underlying theme of all my work, the idea of seduction and its pleasures, with my ‘islander’ spirit formed in part by my time spent on Long Island, New York,” says Artist Michael Dweck.
“We are very honoured to present Michael Dweck’s work for the first time in Canada,” said Izzy Gallery owner Izzy Sulejmani, “Michael is, deservedly, one of the more provocative visual artists of our time and this is an especially exciting opportunity to view the depth and versatility of his collection.”
HABANA LIBRE is an island intrigue, playing on the theme of privilege in a classless society, beauty and art in one of the last communist capitals. It is an insider’s exploration of one close knit group of friends – the creative elite – living the charmed life in Cuba. The elegance and intimacy of this social world and the identities of some of the players adds to the mischief, given that this is happening in Castro’s Cuba.
Dweck’s first series, THE END: MONTAUK N.Y., inspired from his teenage years spent by the beach on Long Island, sold out it its first two weeks, a rarity for a photography book. It portrays the old fishing community of Montauk and its surfing subculture. It is an evocation of a real-world paradise lost: of summer, youth, and erotic possibility; of community and camaraderie in a special place apart – an American version of the Arcadian vision.
MERMAIDS (2008) also has its origins on Long Island, where Dweck often went night fishing along the South Shore and off Montauk. On moonlit nights he was intrigued by the shadowy shapes of fish passing swiftly by just under the surface, and imagined those fleeting forms to be beautiful women -the ancient allure of the mermaid.
Michael Dweck’s photographs were first showcased at Sotheby’s, New York, in 2003, in the auction house’s first solo exhibition for a living photographer. His work is shown at high-profile galleries worldwide including: Staley-Wise Gallery in New York, Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles, Eric Franck Fine Art in London, Maruani & Noirhomme Gallery in Belgium, Robert Morat Galerie in Hamburg and Blitz Tokyo.
Izzy Gallery, established in 2008, is a contemporary gallery with a focus on photography representing Canadian and International artists. Works by Lillian Bassman, John Swannel, Albert Watson, Raul Higuera, Harry Benson, Bert Stern, and more are available at Izzy Gallery. www.izzygallery.com
MICHAEL DWECK: ISLAND LIFE
thesceneinto.com – SCENE & HEARD: Michael Dweck Exhibits at Izzy Gallery
November 17, 2011
Famed photographer’s retrospective exhibit Island Life at Izzy Gallery in Yorkville
The work of Michael Dweck has attracted attention from some of the most influential members of the fashion and art communities including Giorgio Armani, Andrew Rosen, Larry Gagosian, Ricky Sazaki, Madonna, Lisa Perry, Aerin Lauder and Kelly Klein, as well as Ralph Lauren, who has used Dweckʼs photographs in Polo Ralph Lauren ads and in Rugby Ralph Lauren stores.
His latest book, Habana Libre is a provocative look at the new creative class of Cuba. A sexy, sensual series of black and white photos.
Arguably most notable are the never-before-photographed sons of both Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. Dweck is showing a retrospective of his three acclaimed series – HABANA LIBRE, MONTAUK, and MERMAIDS.
Izzy Gallery will be the first Canadian Showing of Dweck’s work. The exhibit runs until December 10.