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ELLEN von UNWERTH

Revenge

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With Tina Davis, Janelle Fishman, Sarabeth Stroller, Dorota Wˇjcik, Julie Ordon, Diana Stoessel, Minerva Portillo, Lenka Batkova, Sheila Ruschell, Micki Olin, Svenja Parotat, Nicole LalibertÚ, Travis Marshall, & Karim Bekka

Published by Twin Palms Publishers, 2002; eight by ten inches, casebound, one hundred ninety tritone plates, two hundred eighteen pages, $40, ISBN 1-931885-14-1

 

"I love all the old pictures--of spanking and Bettie Page and corsets. But you can't do spanking in fashion, so I wanted to do a project where I could really let go and get girls who also love those things. I thought it would be even more sexy when there was a story to go with it, so it wasn't that difficult to write a little storyboard.
"I had chapters, so there were 10 drawings in total. Each girl had a character and I used the storyboard to explain the story to the girls. But there was still freedom to play."

-- Ellen Von Unwerth

Images are presented in the order in which they appear in the book.

The Players
Preface
Chapter 1: The Arrival
Chapter 2: The Garden
Chapter 3: Baroness's Journal
Chapter 4: Capture
Chapter 5: Degradation Anyone?
Chapter 6: The Education of Marie-Louise Part 1
Chapter 7: Restraint
Chapter 8: Isabelle
Chapter 9: Discipline
Chapter 10: The Stable
Chapter 11: The Education of Marie-Louise Part 2
Chapter 12: Liberty
Chapter 13: Revenge
Chapter 14: The Tables are Turned
Chapter 15
: Victory



The Players


Tina Davis
as the Baroness


Lenka Batkova
as Laurence a Maid


Svenja Parotat
as Lulu a Maid


Dorota Wˇjcik
as Veronique a Maid


Janelle Fishman
as Emily


Sarabeth Stroller
as Isabelle


Julie Ordon
as Marie-Louise


Diana Stroessel
as Franšoise


Minerva Portillo
as Charlotte


Sheila Ruschell
as Mimi


Micki Olin
as Ivy


Nicole LalibertÚ
as Sarah


Travis Mashall
as Eric the Chauffer


Karim Bekka
as the Stable Boy


Preface

Although Mme. Vidor survived the cable-car crash that devastated the family dynasty, her husband, his ex, her brother and his wife did not. As a consequence of this she is left sole guardian to the latter's offspring. In addition to her own trio of Franšoise, Charlotte, and Isabelle, her household now includes Emily, Marie-Louise, and Ivy from her husband's previous marriage, and her brother's two daughters, Mimi and Sarah.

Weakened by shock, Mme. Vidor finds herself unable to exercise the parental discipline now lacking in the girls' lives. She reluctantly lets the care of her unruly charges slip into the hands of her stepsister, the Baroness, a woman the girls hardly know and about whom diabolical rumours abound.

The Baroness, for her part, is eager to take charge of the girls. Her long-held dislike of her stepsister sharpens her desire to discipline and control the new arrivals. Indeed, she would hardly have agreed to the arrangement had she not had an appalling ulterior motive. Her late husband's debts, guaranteed against the estate, have meant severe cuts in staff, and she feels sure her stepsister could not object to the girls--how shall it be put--'earning their keep.'

The girls' vivid recollections of their aunt's splendid masqued balls--though they had been too young to attend them--influence their packing. Casting off woollens and sensible shoes they fill their trunks to overflowing with taffeta gowns, stiletto heels, garter belts, stockings and lace....

Chapter 1: The Arrival

As extracts from the Vidor Diaries will show, such memories as had blossomed in their girlish hearts withered quickly once under the dilapidated yet imposing edifice of the chateau. "...it is not as gay as I recall", writes Mimi, "but at least the chauffer is very handsome and I caught him staring at my legs as he helped me from the auto..."






Dorota Wˇjcik as Veronique a Maid (left); Tina Davis as the Baroness.


Janelle Fishman as Emily; Travis Marshall as Eric the Chauffer


Dorota Wˇjcik as Veronique a Maid


Dorota Wˇjcik as Veronique a Maid



Tina Davis as the Baroness, Dorota Wˇjcik as Veronique a Maid, Janelle Fishman as Emily, & Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle

Chapter 2: The Garden

All morning as the girls shed their clothes in the heat, Marie Louise complains of prying eyes through the trees. Mimi suggests it is the men folk of the village, news of their arrival having no doubt spread quickly through the district. Incensed, their modesty already forsaken, they embark on an erotic medley of lewd lesbian acts by which they hope to give them more than that for which they bargained.


Janelle Fishman as Emily; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle


Diana Stroessel as Franšoise; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Janelle Fishman as Emily




Janelle Fishman as Emily


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Janelle Fishman as Emily; Diana Stroessel as Franšoise


Svenja Parotat as Lulu a Maid




Diana Stroessel as Franšoise


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Janelle Fishman as Emily


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Janelle Fishman as Emily


Diana Stroessel as Franšoise; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Janelle Fishman as Emily


Diana Stroessel as Franšoise; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Janelle Fishman as Emily


Diana Stroessel as Franšoise; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle


Diana Stroessel as Franšoise; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Janelle Fishman as Emily


Svenja Parotat as Lulu a Maid


Janelle Fishman as Emily; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Diana Stroessel as Franšoise


Janelle Fishman as Emily; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Diana Stroessel as Franšoise


Janelle Fishman as Emily;
Diana Stoessel as Franšoise



Diana Stoessel as Franšoise


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle


Svenja Parotat as Lulu a Maid; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle


Svenja Parotat as Lulu a Maid


Janelle Fishman as Emily


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle


Janelle Fishman as Emily; Diana Stoessel as Franšoise

Chapter 3: Baroness's Journal

Ingenious, the spy holes my ex-husband devised through which to watch the maids undress. This facility allows me to watch my sweet Veronique at her toilette. Ah Veronique, you are so obedient, so unquestioning, and yet, do you know my maltreatment of you is all can offer as love? Though I yearn to tell you this, I cannot. Moreover, when I call you to my attendance, I know this very inability will provoke a more than usual amount of my displeasure.


Tina Davis as The Baronness


Dorota Wˇjcik as Veronique a Maid


Dorota Wˇjcik as Veronique a Maid


Dorota Wˇjcik as Veronique a Maid


Dorota Wˇjcik as Veronique a Maid


Dorota Wˇjcik as Veronique a Maid


Tina Davis as The Baronness; Dorota Wˇjcik as Veronique a Maid


Dorota Wˇjcik as Veronique a Maid; Tina Davis as The Baronness

Chapter 4: Capture

It is not hard for Eric the Chauffeur to lure the girls into captivity, he is indeed aided in tying them to the old flogging posts by the girls' own lack of inhibitions; convincing them it is all just a game in which if they would only humour him he will favour one or all with something more than a kiss.


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle;
Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer;
& Janelle Fishman as Emily



Tina Davis as The Baroness; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle;
Janelle Fishman as Emily; Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer



Tina Davis as The Baroness; Janelle Fishman as Emily;
Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer



Tina Davis as The Baroness; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle


Svenja Parotat as Lulu a Maid

Chapter 5: Degradation Anyone?

Extract from the secret journal of Emily:

It has all been a horrible trick, our invitation here was one into slavery. The beastly chauffeur, whose attentions I can't believe I encouraged, smirked as the Baroness ripped off our clothes. Now we are forced to work in shameful underwear and very high heels that make a dash for the road impossible. Also the locals are all inbred and to throw oneself on their mercy wearing only froufrou bra and panties is to invite disaster. One would rather stay here and be whipped!

 


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Diana Stroessel as Franšoise;
Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise; Janelle Fishman as Emily



Janelle Fishman as Emily; Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer


Tina Davis as the Baroness


Janelle Fishman as Emily


Janelle Fishman as Emily; Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer; Tina Davis as the Baroness


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle


Janelle Fishman as Emily;
Tina Davis as the Baroness



Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle


Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle



Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle

Chapter 6: The Education of Marie-Louise Part 1

Extract from the journal of Eric the Chauffeur:

I have chained the one called Marie-Louise to a radiator in a tiny room. The room is stifling with no window open and to increase her discomfort I have turned up the radiator full so that in some way its hissing and sharp metallic clicks should somehow remind her of the sound of my return.


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise; Tina Davis as the Baroness


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise; Tina Davis as the Baroness


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise

Chapter 7: Restraint

Continued from the Baroness's Journal:

I assembled the girls into the radiator room so that they may witness one-another's punishments. They do say, do they not, that anticipation of pain is much worse than pain itself. No doubt when Eric has finished with them they will be in a position to inform me if this is really so.


Janelle Fishman as Emily


Janelle Fishman as Emily


Diana Stoessel as Franšoise


Janelle Fishman as Emily


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise; Janelle Fishman as Emily; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle


Diana Stroessel as Franšoise; Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise;
Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle




Chapter 8: Isabelle

For her infractions, I am obliged to reduce Isabelle's meals still further. A saucer of curdled milk in the morning and stale bread for supper. These victuals will be served on the flags of the scullery where the hounds are fed. In between times--as she has shown herself useless at even the simplest domestic chore--it is to be hoped she fairs better this evening as a foot stool for my guests.


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Svenja Parotat as Lulu a Maid


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle




Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle

Chapter 9: Discipline

This evening I declared Eric and Laurence might take leave to use the girls for their own caprices. However, I had sudden misgivings the girls might manipulate the situation to escape, and was about to change my mind when I saw the appalling look of lustful intent upon Eric's features... and I could hardly refuse. Stipulating only that the girls remain tightly secured throughout their ordeal.


Diana Stoessel as Franšoise


Diana Stoessel as Franšoise


Diana Stoessel as Franšoise; Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle




Diana Stoessel as Franšoise; Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer


Diana Stoessel as Franšoise; Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer


Diana Stoessel as Franšoise


Diana Stoessel as Franšoise; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle



Diana Stoessel as Franšoise; Lenka Batkova as Laurence a Maid

Chapter 10: The Stable

From the secret diary of Isabelle:

Since being banished to the outhouses time has taken on a surreal quality. After our morning chores we are sometimes permitted to doze with the horses. At night, however we are kept awake by the attentions of the stable boy who floods the manger with electric light under which we have to "Do things to each other" as he puts it, in his singularly grubby way.


Karim Bekka as the Stable Boy


Minerva Portillo as Charlotte; Nicole LalibertÚ as Sarah


Minerva Portillo as Charlotte; Nicole LalibertÚ as Sarah


Nicole LalibertÚ as Sarah; Minerva Portillo as Charlotte


Minerva Portillo as Charlotte; Lenka Batkova as Laurence a Maid


Minerva Portillo as Charlotte


Minerva Portillo as Charlotte


Minerva Portillo as Charlotte


Nicole LalibertÚ as Sarah


Nicole LalibertÚ as Sarah; Lenka Batkova as Laurence a Maid


Nicole LalibertÚ as Sarah




Nicole LalibertÚ as Sarah


Nicole LalibertÚ as Sarah

Chapter 11: The Education of Marie-Louise Part 2

The Baroness spends all her days with Veronique, leaving Eric and I free hand to discipline the girls. On my part, I must confess, the perverse pleasure I derive from punishing the one called Marie-Louise. Even if she has committed no irregularity and invokes my pity with her tears or her cries, I simply employ the gag or the blindfold to indicate that these matters are of no consequence to my whim.


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise & Svenja Parotat as Lulu a Maid


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise; Lenka Batkova as Laurence a Maid


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise; Lenka Batkova as Laurence a Maid


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise; Lenka Batkova as Laurence a Maid


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise

Chapter 12: Liberty

While plying Emily with champagne, Eric himself has passed out. Kept sober, however, by the dread of Eric's brutal lust, Emily spies the keys slip from his slumbering grip to rest invitingly in his lap. Spying the opportunity for escape, she slowly lowers her trembling mouth to Eric's crotch for what she hopes will be the last time.


Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Janelle Fishman as Emily


Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer; Janelle Fishman as Emily


Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer


Janelle Fishman as Emily


Janelle Fishman as Emily


Janelle Fishman as Emily




Janelle Fishman as Emily


Janelle Fishman as Emily; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle;
Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise; Diana Stroessel as Franšoise



Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer; Tina Davis as the Baroness; Lenka Batkova as Laurence a Maid


Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle;
Janelle Fishman as Emily;Diana Stroessel as Franšoise


Chapter 13: Revenge

Having liberated themselves from the Chateau, thoughts of flight are overtaken by a deadly rancour for the many acts they have been forced to perform at the hands of its hell-born inhabitants. Now having free use of their hands, they feel the raised welts and wealds scored across their thighs and buttocks which read like fiery braille to the touch. These are the hieroglyphs of fate for the Baroness. These are writings on the wall.

 


Dorota Wˇjcik as Veronique a Maid


Dorota Wˇjcik as Veronique a Maid


Dorota Wˇjcik as Veronique a Maid


Dorota Wˇjcik as Veronique a Maid


Dorota Wˇjcik as Veronique a Maid


Dorota Wˇjcik as Veronique a Maid

Chapter 14: The Tables are Turned

"Oh, goodness," cries the Baroness, "you surely don't intend to..." "Goodness," cuts in Charlotte "has nothing to do with it Baroness. You are, as you see, bound by this rope. The other end of which is attached to the bumper of your Rolls in which we intend to return to Paris. We would however, like to give you lift as far as the old stockade on the village green."


Tina Davis as the Baroness

Chapter 15: Victory

Having immaculate manners, the
girls write a thank you note.

Dear Aunt, after dealing with your miserable staff, it was such fun to watch the peasants discover you naked and dishevelled in the stocks. Though we were at first disappointed that they couldn't read the sign around your neck asking to be flogged, your constant claims to be the Baroness finally galvanized them into performing their duty. Do hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

Love Emily, Isabelle, Marie-Louise, Franšoise,
Charlotte, Mimi, Ivy and Sarah.

 


Micki Olin as Ivy; Janelle Fishman as Emily




Micki Olin as Ivy





The following photo does not appear in WM's copy of the book but is clearly part of the shoot.


Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle

text from Photography-Now:

The always provocative Ellen Von Unwerth has created a sadomasochistic story told in pictures.

Shot entirely in black and white, in Von Unwerth's signature style, the exhibition is a playful and sexy narrative of sisters sent away to their aunt's chateau, by their anguished mother, who has just lost "her husband, his ex, her brother, and his wife" in a cable car crash. With childhood memories of their aunt's extravagant and luxurious lifestyle, the girls look forward to the adventure, only to arrive and face the disappointment of serving to their aunt's -- and her staff's -- twisted whims. Finally able to free themselves from her clutches, the book ends with the aunt receiving her just desserts.

text from Winter 2004 AMSP Bulletin

An ASMP member since 1993, Ellen Von Unwerth's sexy aesthetic has been turning heads for many years. Breaking away from her early days as a circus performer and fashion model, she now enjoys tremendous acclaim as an editorial and advertising photographer with a provocative vision and a playful, yet wicked approach.

This hallmark style is masterfully articulated in Revenge, a hardcover photo novella that transforms a Victorian story line into an unfettered romp in the park. The book was photographed over three days at an estate on the outskirts of Paris and boasts 190 black and white views.

A bevy of maidens arrive by chauffeured limousine at the Chateau of their guardian, the Baroness. They flock to the garden where they eat forbidden fruit and frolic in a mud bath. Enter the corsets and ropes, blindfolds, whips and chains. Lured to captivity by the Baroness and her wicked servants, they are thus enslaved until, at long last, the girls overtake the keys to the chateau and get their revenge on the evil Baroness and her staff.

Revenge was released in April 2003 by Twin Palms Publishers, in tandem with exhibitions in New York, Berlin and Paris. Look for Revenge at your local bookstore or at the publisher’s Web site: twinpalms.com. To see more of Ellen’s commercial work, including a camera-classic series with pop idol Britney Spears, shot for the New York Times, visit the Web site of her New York rep Art & Commerce at:
www.artandcommerce.com. -- Jill Waterman

text from http://fotophile.com/reviews/revenge.html

Deliciously decadent, Ellen Von Unwerth's latest work has all the trappings of a classic, highly stylized tale of lasciviousness and a study in form, sexuality and society -- albeit one tucked away behind the velvet curtain of propriety.

Titillating yet never prurient, "Revenge" depicts the erotic journeys of three young women who arrive for a respite at a rural manor. Instead, what follows is a series of sexually charged S&M scenes of the women as they become entagled with the Baroness (think "Rocky Horror Picture Show" with a stunning older woman in the antagonist role), her chauffer and her stable boy.

Each of the women finds herself at the mercy of handcuffs, leather accoutrements and blindfolds while clad -- barely -- in impeccable 1940s vintage fashions and situated in lavish surroundings.

The book itself, the size and shape of a diary sporting a black cloth cover, physically resembles a volume that might have been purloined from the Baroness's own library. Supplemented by the rich tones of its high-quality printing, the book offers a visual as well as tactile delight -- a triumph for Twin Palms Publishing, based in Santa Fe, N.M.

For Von Unwerth, a fashion photographer whose work graces the pages of Vogue and Vanity Fair, the work represents a honing of her craft of merging desire with setting. When Von Unwerth does it well, as she does here, each element is inextricable from the other.

Unexpected and as far from clichÚ as nearly any artist working today, "Revenge" stands out as a bar that won't be easy to clear for any who follow in her footsteps. -- Bruno J. Navarro

*****

Revenge by Ellen Von Unwerth

Finally, a book about women who end up captive and enslaved, that "isn't graphic or offensive in any way".

Part "The Story of O", part Andrew Blake and vintage erotica, Ellen Von Unwerth veers even further away from fashion and more towards conceptually innovative work in this playful, S&M tale. Revenge is one of the most incredibly audacious works of recent memory, especially when you consider how conservative our culture has become. The story is as bold as the photographs, and in many ways, as sexy. Though the viewer is treated to page after page of women wrestling in mud, spankings and bondage, this isn't as dirty as the material it pays homage to, but it is twice as fun.

Revenge is the story of a group of women who end up captive and enslaved, but turn the tables on their captors. The book is almost pocket sized, and is a beautiful black and white, hardcover collector's dream. This is the thing that coffee tables were meant for, (but not if you have young children around.) Truth be told, Revenge is pretty tame, with full nudity on display and some eyebrow raising scenarios, it isn't graphic or offensive in any way. By contrast, it is actually the nicest fashion meets erotica study I have seen. It doesn't hurt that Ellen Von Unwerth has a skilled eye and a gift for capturing perversity in a comfortable and natural setting. She makes taboo subjects very familiar and creates adult subject matter that has class and style.

Like adult filmmaker Andrew Blake, Von Unwerth focuses on female couplings where there is a wink and a nod to S&M and bondage, but the underlined exploration is actually on how beautiful women are. It is difficult to imagine anyone not flipping through Revenge without a smile. The book replicates the look of vintage erotica, but brings it into the modern age and declares it OK to enjoy this kind of material. In an era where we have become so afraid to speak our minds and explore themes outside of the status quo, Revenge is a welcome tribute to sexuality and freedom. One could say that Revenge doesn't break any new ground, but that would be ignoring the fact that this isn't welcome subject matter in your average bookstore, and Ellen Von Unwerth is a woman who isn't afraid to take risks. Like her previous books, Wicked and Couples, Revenge proves that Ellen Von Unwerth plays by her own rules and creates art that is outside of the conventions. Revenge ends with the famous words, "To be continued..." Let's hope so. Buy the book! -- Terry Osterhout, September 2003

text from January/February 2003 American Photo

Von Unwerth's Revenge

Fashion photographer Ellen Von Unwerth's newest book, Revenge (Twin Palms Press, $60), is an X-rated sitcom: A trio of young women arrive at the estate of a baroness expecting a relaxing weekend, only to find that the baroness, her chauffeur, and her stable hand have in mind some other activities--games that involve rope, whips, and lingerie. Everybody Loves Raymond it ain't. But this tawdry visual tale--told only with 190 still images--is infused with Von Unwerth's typical brand of erotic humor. Her fashion images have always been distinguished by a sense of spontaneity--rather than punching out stiff or fussy images, she creates a rich mise-en-scŔne in which her models assume roles and act out. In Revenge, Von Unwerth takes it all a step further, showing off her strong sense of storytelling.--David Schonauer

text from http://www.photoeye.com/catalogues/2003Spring.pdf
(Spring 2003 Photo-eye Booklist)

Ellen Von Unwerth is known for her sexy, unrestrained approach to fashion and photography, as witnessed in Couples and the out-of-print Snaps, also from Twin Palms. In Revenge, her first book in several years, she is the director on the set of a lusty, sadomasochistic tale. Three young ladies are invited to the estate of a voluptuous baroness for a weekend of relaxation. The baroness, however, has something quite different in mind--a little bit of this and a little bit of that (add leather and bondage, and remove most clothing).

*****

Fashion's dalliance with elements of S&M chic has been around a very long while. Helmut Newton, whose sadomasochistic shots of models wearing saddles dominated the bondage flavoured fashion shots of the early 1980s, has been joined by blond Řberphotog Ellen Von Unwerth and her new book Revenge (Twin Palms 2003). Chock full of saucy misses in frothy knickers getting their sweet cheeks scored with the lash, this coffee-table book references classics of kink like The Story of O or 120 Days of Sodom. The usual set pieces and props are all there -- a gaggle of easily corrupted innocents, a wicked Baroness, black garters, riding crops and an age-old story of crime and punishment.

*****

The joy of discovering this book in a Barnes and Noble in Salt Lake City, Utah was overwhelming--such a find (even in a fairly large bookstore) in Utah is to be savored.

Having not heard of either Von Unwerth nor Twin Palms publishers at the time, what captivated me about the book wasn't the content of the photos, but the concept of the story told through them.

See, the book is unrelentingly sexual--each photo a glorious black and white erotic treat--and deeply kinky; the whole idea of domineering women explored to such shocking detail that one isn't, at first, aroused--one is, at first, so helplessly in love with each photo that sex isn't the first thought; Unwerth captivates before she turns the tables.

And the story? We're first introduced to a (absent) widow (Mme. Vidor), whose his ex, her brother and his wife, were killed in a tragic cable-car crash. Both the character's names and the style of the photography instantly transport us to an age now passed--that of 'estates' and familial connections with people such as the Baroness, who, with some spite, takes custody of her step-sister's children and stepchildren (you see, Mme. Vidor is too overwrought with grief that such a task as raising eight girls [eight voluptuous girls] would be too hard for her). The Baroness, of course, has ulterior motive; she seeks a jealous form of revenge; on top of this, the girls will, somewhat dastardly written, 'earn their keep'.

The story, from this opener, is told in photos, each chapter briefly prefaced by a tiny excerpt from one journal or another.

We're held privy to the Baroness' love for one of her few remaining servants, the stunning maid Veronique. We understand the torture the girls are going through via the journals of Eric, the Chauffeur (who torments them) and the secret journal of Emily, one of the girls.

Of course, they're not forced into lurid sexual slavery at first; rather, the Baroness and her servants allow them the illusion of an exciting new life on the grounds of the vast estate--they tease the villagers, who spy at them through the bushes, with slight Sapphic play turned mud-wrestling; the torture begins after that--starting with the first harsh blast of the hose that Laurence (the other maid) turns on them to clean them, and rising and rising in degradation until, finally, the girls escape and enact their revenge.

Each of Unwerth's photos are remarkable--the form of each character, along with the tone of a bygone era and semi-fictional setting, moving us closer and closer to the outcome via a fever-pitch of page turning; not once does a photo go unnoticed, and never once are we left bored enough to put the book down.

Our only let down is, of course, the lack of character definition--which would be a hard thing to do, since the book is barely tied together by text; we, instead, soak up the story from each image--the Baroness' delighted expression as Veronique laces her corset, the unsure look in the Stable Boy's eyes, the hint of pain or shame on each girl's face; in the arousal of both our sexual tastes and our curiosity, Unwerth unleashes our creativity and allows us to instill the moments with meaning.

Twin Palms has, with this book, released a treasure trove of erotic art. The book itself is a looker, too--hardbound and solid, it fits seamlessly among your higher-end books (you know, the ones you keep on your top shelf and don't allow the mass-market paperbacks to mingle with?) with a classic, simple black spine.

I'm really just in love with the whole project.

text from eBay auction by Sensual-World

Ellen Von Unwerth's newest work is a wild and sexy romp. Long known for her provocative work in the fashion world, here she is the director on the set, creating a sadomasochistic story, told solely in photographs, which delves into sexual obsession. Revenge begins with a trio of young women arriving at the Baroness's estate expecting a relaxing weekend. The Baroness, her chauffeur, and her stablehand soon have them involved in something quite different. . . .

The story is not for the timid. The images are powerful, provocative and sensual. Shot in a French chateau and set in the 20's or 30's flapper era, Von Unwerth has taken some of the worlds most beautiful fashion models and placed them in a story, similar in subject matter to The Story of O. There are over 200 pages of 12 stunning women dressed in every kind of sexy lingerie including corsets, stiletto high heels, see through panties, bustier, stockings, garters, and Peek-A-Boo bra's. Then there are the more non standard items including masks, blindfolds, maids outfits, boots, collars, and a manacle here and there. In many images the women are topless or bare breasted. In others they are either completely nude or bottomless. There are also some upskirt pictures as well photographs of other sexually themed "games".

There is probably no other photographer in the business with the exception of maybe Helmut Newton who could get such beautiful women to do such "kinky" photos and to have them turn out so beautiful.

 

Ellen Von Unwerth REVENGE on a Gallery

Ellen Von Unwerth selected works

Ellen Von Unwerth full gallery

 

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