Gloss: The Work of Chris von Wangenheim

The first monograph on notorious photographer Chris von Wangenheim, whose shocking work epitomized the glamour and excess of the 1970s and reflected the fashionable underworld living life on the edge. Between the years 1968 and 1981, photographer Chris von Wangenheim shocked the world with a body of work that explored sex, violence, and danger in the realm of high fashion. Von Wangenheim’s dark photographs were emblematic of the time—an era that encompassed Deep Throat, the sexual revolution, punk, and porn—and continually challenged the viewers’ taste by its stylized depictions of suggestive (and often harrowing) narratives. His images appeared in every top fashion publication—including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue Italia, and Interview—and he produced unforgettable campaigns for Dior and Valentino until he died in a car accident at age 39.  
This book, the first monograph on von Wangenheim’s career, contains over two hundred provocative and iconic images from this tumultuous era, including never-before-seen outtakes from memorable shoots with such supermodels as Christie Brinkley, Lisa Taylor, and the late Gia Carangi. Drawing on interviews with models, editors, art directors, and photographers who were influenced by him, the Padilhas revive von Wangenheim’s explosive depictions of the glamour and excess of the 1970s for a contemporary audience and reveal how his work continues to inform fashion imagery today.

About The Author

Roger Padilha and Mauricio Padilha are the founders of MAO Public Relations and authors of The Stephen Sprouse Book and Antonio Lopez: Fashion, Art, Sex, and Disco. Steven Klein is one of the most challenging and provocative artists in photography and film. Klein’s riveting body of work consumes viewers and entices them into his extreme vision.

  • Publish Date: September 15, 2015
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Photography - Individual Photographers - Monographs
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Trim Size: 10 x 12-3/4
  • Pages: 288
  • US Price: $85.00
  • CDN Price: $85.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-4500-2


"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 A lot of his images have remained unpublished until now . . . the book features over 200 images alongside rarely seen and never-before-seen shots.

"Though von Wangenheim’s career and life were cut short by a tragic car accident in 1981, Gloss points readers toward the countless ways that his influence lives on today in the form of editorials and campaigns."

"Von Wangenheim’s highly erotic photos are envelope-pushers even by today’s standards."

"Chris von Wangenheim epitomized the 70s. The fashion photographer captured the glamour and excess of the era with highly provocative images exploring sex, violence and danger with high fashion. This gorgeous monograph contains interviews from models, editors and art directors and over 200 jaw-dropping images, some of which are outtakes from memorable shoots."

"Mr. Von Wangenheim was perhaps one of the most provacative photographers of all time. From the late 1960's all the way into 1981, when he died in a car accident, this artist captured the glam and excess of that era. . . [Gloss] includes more than 200 images, some legendary, some unknown. The suggestive narratives are as inspiring now as they were then and continue to impress the industry. . . Mr. Von Wangenheim's work might have faded with his passing but it wasn't forgotten." 

"In the 1970s, when fashion photography was focused on overtly sexual, and often disturbing, subject matter—a reflection of the women’s liberation movement, as well as the fiscal crisis and the urban crime wave that followed—Chris von ­Wangenheim’s dangerously seductive pictures stood out as some of the most extreme. . . [Gloss] sheds light on a meticulous, dedicated artist who helped define his era." 

Author Bookshelf: Mauricio Padilha, Roger Padilha