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Autumn de Wilde
Born (1970-10-21) October 21, 1970 (age 53)
Alma mater Los Angeles City College
Occupation Photographer • director
Years active 1990–present
Spouse(s) Aaron Sperske (divorced)
Children Arrow de Wilde
  • Jerry de Wilde (father)

Autumn de Wilde (born October 21, 1970) is an American photographer and film director best known for her portraiture and commercial work photography of musicians, as well as her music video works. In 2020 she directed her first feature film, Emma.

Early life

De Wilde was born on October 21, 1970, in Woodstock, New York. Her father, Jerry de Wilde, is an art and commercial photographer most noted for his photos of Jimi Hendrix and other musicians at the Monterey Pop Festival, and other icons of the 1960s. She was raised in Los Angeles, California, with her younger brother.

Her mother, Mary, lived in England, prompting De Wilde's fascination with English culture as a self-proclaimed Anglophile. This led to her debut film, Emma, based on the novel by Jane Austen of the same name.

She studied theater at Los Angeles City College, and was informally taught photography by her father.


Autumn De Wilde initially intended to go into theater. When performing political theater for Lollapalooza in 1995, she experienced heat stroke that led her to the singer Beck, who allowed her to cool off in his tour bus. With her knowledge of photography learned from her father, she took pictures of Beck. He then encouraged her to go into photography.

She has since become known as a celebrity photographer, and has photographed CD covers for Miranda Cosgrove, Elliott Smith, She & Him, Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins, The Raconteurs, The White Stripes, Fiona Apple, Beck, Built to Spill, Wilco, Monsters of Folk, New Found Glory, and a number of other musicians. Her portrait subjects include Willie Nelson, Sean Watkins, Ryan Adams, Sonic Youth, Tegan and Sara, and Wolfmother. Her photos have appeared on the cover of Spin magazine and in the pages of Rolling Stone, Filter, Nylon, Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, and The New York Times.

Through Beck she was able to meet Elliott Smith, with whom she become close. He also complimented her work, and encouraged her to go into directing by telling his crew that if she did not direct his music videos, he simply would not do them. In 2007 Chronicle Books released a book, Elliott Smith, that includes de Wilde's photographs of musician Elliott Smith as well as handwritten lyrics, interviews with close friends and family, and a bonus CD of a live performance.

She has since directed music videos for Beck, The Decemberists, Florence and the Machine, Spoon, Ingrid Michaelson, The Raconteurs, Rilo Kiley and Death Cab for Cutie. Her live concert documentary work includes The Flaming Lips, Spoon, and the Arcade Fire. She has also documented couture designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte.

In 2010, de Wilde provided commentary on a series of reissues of the back catalog of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, appearing in the accompanying documentaries entitled Do You Love Me Like I Love You.

In 2011, her work was extensively featured in the limited edition deluxe box version of The Decemberists album The King Is Dead. It included her one-of-a-kind Polaroid photograph from the Impossible Project/Decemberists series, and a 72-page hardcover book with over 250 of her Polaroid photos and illustrations by Carson Ellis.

De Wilde made her directorial feature film debut with the 2020 film Emma., adapted from Jane Austen's novel of the same name, starring Anya Taylor-Joy. She previously directed a interlude segment of the HBO documentary Six by Sondheim, incorporated the song, Send in the Clowns, which is performed by Audra McDonald and Will Swenson.

In 2022, De Wilde photographed Florence Welch for Vogue UK ahead of the release of Florence and the Machine's album Dance Fever.

She is managed by Anonymous Content.

Personal life

De Wilde was married to drummer Aaron Sperske. Footage from their wedding appeared in the music video for "By Your Side" by Beachwood Sparks. Their daughter, Arrow de Wilde, is the lead singer for the Los Angeles–based band Starcrawler.

De Wilde suffers from arthritis necessitating the use of a cane. Her current cane is styled after one owned by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec that holds a shot of whiskey and an accompanying shot glass, found in a London umbrella shop by asking for their "weirdest cane".


Year Title Notes
2020 Emma. Feature film directorial debut

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Project Result Ref.
2020 Boston Society of Film Critics Best New Filmmaker Emma. Nominated
2020 Hollywood Critics Association Best Female Filmmaker Nominated
2020 Indiana Film Journalists Association Breakout of the Year Nominated

See also

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