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About Eva Maria Kramer
Eva-Maria was introduced to dogs at an early age. As a young girl she was lucky enough to be allowed a dog of her own, a Rough Collie. As was undoubtedly part of her parent’s intention, it taught the young Eva a great sense of responsibility, but it also succeeded in igniting a passion for dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds, which would remain with her throughout her career
Eva showed an instant natural talent for handling her Collie, and it wasn’t long before this progressed from the basic requirements of handling a pet, to the rigorous training regime of the Schutzhund; an intensive training program designed to equip dogs – and their handlers – with the skills required for police work, specific odor detection, search and rescue, and other high pressure
Despite the high physical and mental demands, Eva loved the Schutzhund training sessions, and decided this was the direction her career should take, but it was to be her family again, which unveiled another of Eva’s talents, and pointed the way towards a more permanent vocation: “My father was a passionate photographer and so I learned early the meaning of good photography. Of course, it was natural for me to enjoy photographing dogs, and my aim became to show the typical characteristics of a breed.”
Eva – like many animal photographers – found inspiration in the work of Sally Anne Thompson, and set her sights on perfecting the techniques Sally employed to capture the essence of each subject, and with almost obsessive attention began tracking down the finest examples of each breed; no matter how much research, traveling and work was involved in doing so.
It wasn’t long before a book publisher recognised both Eva’s talents, and her absolute devotion to achieving the best results possible. In 1976, Eva was commissioned by KOSMOS to photograph the upcoming title: British Sheepdogs. Eva steadfastly refused to follow the then accepted style of blue background studio photos, instead adding colour, texture, natural settings and ‘poses’. She also traveled far and wide to ensure each and every subject she photographed was the very finest example of the breed.
The hard work paid off, and British Sheepdogs was to be the catalyst for Eva, giving instant recognition for her talent and ability, and from then on commissions for further books, calenders, magazines and more began flooding in
“Originally I concentrated on my breed, the Collie, but during the beginning of the 1970’s I gained interest in other breeds and photographing them in their natural habitat. And it very much became my main aim to show pedigree dogs in their traditional function, where still possible.”
Eva’s work wasn’t, and indeed isn’t, restricted to books, and her work graced the pages of a variety of specialist magazines across Europe and further afield, and still does. From1985 to 1993 she turned her talents to editing, spearheading no less than four titles: Hundewelt, Deutsches Hundemagazin, Beardie Revue and Collie Revue.
It was to be another book that would be Eva’s true labour of love though, and one that would showcase her talent to it’s full potential. The book was Hundeführer; Dog Breed Guide, first published by KOSMOS in 1990.
“With Hundeführer, I was able to produce a dog book which showed the looks in photos of top class specimen and described origin, history, function and character.
It was a real bestseller. First published in 1990, in 2003 a totally revised 4th edition followed with new breeds and photos, which quickly sold out and had to be re-printed in 2004. The book was translated into many languages, was a bestseller in several editions in Japan and was published in Russia and China in 2005. In 2008 I spent working on the totally revised 5th edition, published in 2009.”
To this day, Hundeführer remains a fine testament to a truly unique talent and character of the animal photography world. Eva’s ability with and knowledge of her subjects, her technical ability with the camera and eye for a shot, and her absolute devotion to tracking down the finest examples of each breed are second to none: a true inspiration to us all.
The above photo of Eva in action was taken by Regine Zweig.