Famed photographer Ellen Stagg describes her work simply and directly. "I photograph women of all levels of dress and undressed,” she says when asked about the dichotomy between her erotic images, upscale fashion portraits and advertising layouts. “I love empowering women, celebrating and collaborating with them through my photography.”
Galore Magazine said of her Stagg work, “…Ellen Stagg isn’t what you might call a ‘creative’–the term entrepreneurial millennials are using these days to describe themselves where other words fail. Stagg is the real deal"
Stagg’s lifelong interest in photography began in during her junior year of high school in Connecticut, when she enrolled in a senior level photography course back in 1994. Her talents were recognized by her high school with an award of accomplishment for photography. The school created a senior advanced placement course just for her. She then went on to college, attending the prestigious School of Visual Arts, graduating with a BFA in Photography in 2000.
Atthe end of her junior year at SVA, Stagg signed with her first agent and immediately began shooting commercially for magazines, advertising, fashion and other exclusive clientele. A professional for the past 18 years, her fashion and commercial work has appeared in some of the most-read magazines in the world, including Life, Vibe, Interview, Maxim, Flaunt, I-D and Teen Vogue. It has also been featured in film and television as well. Her subjects, drawn from the world of acting, music and sports, include such notables as Scarlett Johansson , Moby, Tony Hawk, Heidi Fleiss, Redman, Good Charlotteand Geena Rocero. A complete list of her clients can be found at EllenStagg.com
The turning point in her career came in 2005 when she met porn star and actress Justine Joli. Joli was searching for a photographer to create additional content for her website. Stagg was hired and was immediately taken with her subject’s free spirit. Through Joli, she met other women from the adult industry and continued to explore more erotic subject matter, but she ran into difficulty while looking for places where she could showcase her work. Deemed too “porn” for her commercial work and too “artsy” for porn sites, she opted to start her own website, Staggstreet.com. It brought her far more notoriety than she had ever achieved with her commercial photography and opened doors for television work and art exhibits.
Stagg was spotlighted in a ten episode web series shot by The Independent Film Channel called “The Stagg Party”. Filmed and directed by Joe Swanberg, the series was shot in Brooklyn and Los Angeles and received critical kudos, prompting the L.A. Times to say, “With its rampant nudity and nonjudgemental adult industry theme, the voyeuristic web hordes will loves it. But the show’s soft-touch intelligence and compelling characters give it depth.”
Stagg has exhibited at art galleries around the world with her fine art film images. She has shown her work at Parlor Gallery in Asbury Park, NJ, since 2008. Her first solo show was at Fuse Gallery in 2010. Other noted galleriesand Museums, Stephen Romano, Morbid Anatomy, Gallery, Brooklyn, Mighty Tanaka, Scope Art Fair, Art Directors Club (Young Guns 3) and more listed in attached CV.
For all her accomplishments, here again Stagg sums her efforts up succinctly:
“I'm a feminist artist and with my work, I want to support women. Every size and body type, I want to lift them up and make them feel beautiful and empowered.”