Ellen Von Unwerth’s newest work, “Do Not Disturb”, is a salacious behind-the-scenes story collage via Motel Americana. We spoke to the feted photographer about her typically reference friendly collection – which showcases at London’s Michael Hoppen gallery from Friday.
Describe “Do Not Disturb” for us.
I am always fascinated by the life that is going on behind closed doors in hotels. People are so close together, but still in totally different worlds. Especially in America, where characters are more extreme and eccentric.
Where was it shot? How do you usually go about unearthing such amazing locations?
It was shot in the Madonna Inn; a Honey moon motel close to Santa Barbara. Every room has a different theme and the decoration is extremely over the top. I always
look for places that have character – which is unfortunately more and more hard to find. Everything seems to become beige and grey.
How did you go about sourcing the clothes? Research for it must have been intensive…
I came across lots of interesting people during my stay in LA: actors, models, burlesque dancers, friends. They were very inspiring and it was easy to pin a character on them, to play a role in my “Do Not Disturb” story.
The set pieces are extremely filmic. Which directors or movies inspired the series?
I wanted to give it a bit of a David Lynch feeling: strange characters, glamourous but weird.
What project/s are you currently working on?
I am working on so many projects, there are so many things I want to do. For the moment I have a book coming out in the fall with Taschen and I am preparing to direct a movie in the near future.
Do Not Disurb: June 21 – August 31, 2012 at Michael Hoppen Gallery in London
Words: Jack Mills