Born in 1972 Elke Vogelsang turned her professional life upside down later in life to leave a smoothly running and profitable but dull job as a translator to pursue what she loves – photography.
She found her passion after being faced with sudden and significant changes in her life. She hasn’t looked back since.
Nice Nosing You
Elke Vogelsang aka “Wieselblitz“ is a self-taught photographer from Germany specializing in dog portraiture. After troubled times she found photography to be a healing occupation and creative outlet to cope with stress. It all began with a one-picture-a-day project, which she started as a diary for her husband who had suffered a brain hemorrhage leading to loss of the short term memory. Her dogs found themselves in front of her camera very often as they were patient and eager models. In fact it was the dogs who raised an alarm so her husband was found in time to be saved. They themselves once narrowly avoided death as former strays from Spain, and these loyal companions are much more to Vogelsang than just photographic subjects and she has a lot to thank them for.
Elke’s husband spent a few months in hospital and made a full recovery, but the photography project lasted much longer. As her pictures got better, more and more people asked if she could photograph their dogs, too. The stressful time made her think about life and what to do with it. Therefore, she decided to turn her two passions – dogs and photography – into a profession. Five years later now she works full-time as a photographer with publications in magazines, newspapers and on television world-wide, including several cover pictures of magazines, as for example The Sunday Times Magazine.
Elke doesn’t believe in talent as she knows how much time she put into her pictures. She says she believes in loving your subject, practicing and actually taking pictures to fine-tune your skills and learn how to handle your camera, the light, your subject and the many other parameters that make a picture.
In her opinion dogs are funny characters. They find pleasure in the most mundane things. Her dogs are her joy, recreation and constant source of laughter. With her wonderfully expressive portraits she tries to capture and show the beauty, quirky personalities and charming character of these animals.
Character and emotions are crucial parts of her pictures. One very important way to achieve this is to always make sure the dog has fun, and, of course, the dog trusts you, says the photographer. After years of experience modeling for Vogelsang, her own rescue dogs Noodles, Scout and Ioli, appear totally at ease in front of her camera. They even suggest poses and photo spots. With the promise of treats, cheers and playtime for a session, the adorable three are more than happy to sit obediently.
As well as working on commercial and client projects Vogelsang also photographs shelter dogs to help find them a new home. Therefore, she gained a lot of experience with lots of different characters and personalities. According to her, the real challenge in dog photography is to adapt to your individual subject, to figure out what motivates that one particular dog and what you can do to try to make sure the dog acts naturally and open in front of your camera.
She takes pictures on a daily basis, not only for her clients, but if possible, for personal projects as well. That way she’s able to explore ideas and try to fine-tune them. She usually doesn’t plan her work, it just happens along the way, but if she has a topic she would like to explore further, she doesn’t get tired trying to enhance the execution of the idea. Her pictures, though, are mostly reduced to the minimum. She doesn’t use many props or sumptuous settings. It’s all about the dog and it’s qualities. [Official Website]