Zebra Portrait by Wolf Ademeit
2009 / 2020 ART304
Wolf Ademeit
Work details

Zebra Portrait

13 x 18

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Background Information about Wolf Ademeit


In front of Wolf Ademeit’s lens, a one-ton rhino becomes a wise philosopher, a ferocious lion plays kitty-cat, and a giraffe poses with a skilled crane of the neck. No animal in the world likes to work as a model, not even with photographers as talented as Wolf Ademeit. For this reason, Ademeit takes his sensational photographs in zoos.

Ademeit does not have any special privileges at the zoo. He stands outside the enclosures, and the animals remain inside them. He explains that his impressive portraits require “Luck, endurance, and concentration – in exactly that order.” His bold, black-and-white photographs prove that he definitely knows how to take advantage of the situations he is presented with.


During his lithography apprenticeship in the 1970s, Wolf Ademeit, who was born in 1954, met many professional photographers. By observing their work, he not only discovered his passion for photography, but also his talent for it. He is self-taught, and maintains that he does not have any preferred subjects: “Everything that has to do with lines and forms interests me.” Wolf Ademeit lives and works in Moers, Germany.


Patience is the deciding factor in Wolf Ademeit’s work, since the photographer finds his unpredictable models in neighbouring zoos. There, he manages to capture very intense portraits. By sticking to black-and-white photography, he consciously separates himself from wildlife documentary. To him, it is important to show the animals as individuals.

“In Africa, I would always photograph an elephant as a part of the landscape. In the zoo, I only photograph the animal, and the surroundings don’t interest me,” Ademeit explains his decision to avoid natural settings. At the same time, the photographer does not want to anthropomorphize the animals. Nonetheless, they still often appear to be displaying emotions. For his Animals series, Ademeit uses a Sony camera (A77) and a Sigma lens (50-500mm). He takes the pictures early in the morning, preferably when the sky is overcast.

A photographer should always try to press the shutter at the right instant – otherwise, he should probably become a video artist.
Wolf Ademeit
Born in 1954
A trained lithographer
Lives and works in Moers, Germany
2013Wolf Ademeit, Brucie Collections, Kiev, Ukraine
2012Man-made Images, Galerie Mountcharles, Ireland


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