HotShots: Ava Elderwood
We’re in a pin-up mood today. Meet Ava Elderwood a German pin-up model-turned pin-up photographer. We chat with the modern-day Bunny Yeager in the interview below and show her gorgeous shots (both of and by her) in the gallery that follows.
What drew you to pin-up?
Dita (Von Teese)! I saw her the first time on German TV six years ago with her vintage style in both to dress and life. I fell in love with the vintage stuff, gorgeous pin-up bombshells, feminine appeal, and classy clothing.
Is the pin-up culture in Germany different than America?
In my opinion, yes, the German culture is a little quieter. America was the birthplace for pin-up style so it’s more concentrated in America but I think the German scene has been growing fast the last four-to-five years.
Is Bettie Page to you the most iconic pin-up in Germany or is that only in America?
Yes she is, but Bettie has this dark side with her fetish photographs. To me the real pin-up is more like the Gil Elvgren girls—those cute, sexy, girls next door.
Does your love of pin-up carry over to your daily life as well?
Of course, it was the logic development for me. To dress like the girls I like most and wear my hair that way became an enrichment in my life.
What does the tattoo on your chest symbolize? Did you get that before or after you started modeling?
I believe in Asian horoscopes and it is my Chinese zodiac character, the monkey. It’s over 12 years old, long before I fell in love with pin-up. The hibiscus flowers I got after my honeymoon on Hawaii, nearly three years ago.
Do you plan to get any more tattoos?
Oh yes, there are so many ideas!
How did you make the transition from modeling to photography?
One year ago Topvintage, a great online shop for vintage clothing, asked me on Facebook to share some private pics from me in some dresses they sell. And so I thought about making good pictures of myself with the clothes. I thought “if I can do make up, hair, and pictures by myself and of myself that I like, then I can make them it for every girl who wants to have it too. At first I bought some shooting equipment and by trying and failing I’ve made the first steps to reach the picture quality I like most. I’m still learning with each shot!
Did you use your experience in modeling to teach yourself to photograph, or did you get some direction?
I’m autodidact in both. The experience I’ve acquired during modeling is of course a great benefit for my clients and I was often told that they have more trust in me due to this. That means I know how tricky and difficult posing can be but on the other hand I know the flattering looks and poses for them too.
How would you describe your photography style?
Classy, sexy, cool. It makes every woman’s beauty glow.
Do you like being behind the camera or in front of it better?
In front I’m always Ava Elderwood, behind I’m a creative girl that gives other girls the opportunity to discover their glamorous side and conserve it for the future— that is more honorable to me.