'I'll Catch You' features Lili, a Pomeranian, enjoying an afternoon on a Tel Aviv beach. It came in first place in the 'Dogs at Play' category. 'I'll Catch You' features Lili, a Pomeranian, enjoying an afternoon on a Tel Aviv beach. It came in first place in the 'Dogs at Play' category. 'I'll Catch You' features Lili, a Pomeranian, enjoying an afternoon on a Tel Aviv beach. It came in first place in the 'Dogs at Play' category. (Photo: Elinor Roizman)

Israeli wins a top dog photographer of the year award

Elinor Roizman's photo of a peppy Pomeranian took first prize in the 'Dogs at Play' category.

Elinor Roizman was eating lunch at a restaurant in Tel Aviv when her phone rang. The caller – a polite woman with a British accent – told Roizman that she had just won a Dog Photographer of the Year award. Roizman nearly choked on her salad.

"I was like 'No way, no way, no way!'" Roizman recalled. "I think that I told her 'No way' like 2,000 times during that phone call." That disbelief turned into tears of joy. "I started to cry, and I didn't know what to say to her. The British people are really polite and she just waited on the phone."

The woman on the other end of the line was from the Kennel Club, the U.K.’s largest organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and welfare of all dogs. It's believed to be the oldest kennel club in the world. The group hosts an annual dog photography contest, which attracts thousands of submissions from around the globe.

Elinor Roizman is a photographer based in Tel Aviv. Elinor Roizman is a photographer based in Tel Aviv. (Photo: Yarin Klein)

Indeed, it was the winner of last year's competition in the "Dogs at Play" category – Kaylee Greer from the United States – who served as an inspiration for Roizman to enter the contest. "Because of Kaylee, I actually started thinking about this field as a real profession, and not just as a hobby," Roizman told From The Grapevine. "All the time, I looked at her pictures and asked myself: What did she do here? How can I do something like this? She really was my inspiration all the way, and I won exactly the same category as her a year later. This is the most amazing thing for me. This is the biggest honor."

Roizman's winning photo (which appears at the top of this article) almost didn't make it into the contest. Since you're only allowed to submit one photo per category, she had to narrow down the choice from a vast collection of pet pictures. It was only at the very last minute that she decided on the one with the Pomeranian chasing a bubble. She almost sent one in of a dog named Banjo enjoying the sun (see below).

This photo of Banjo the dog was almost submitted instead of the winning picture. This photo of Banjo the dog was almost submitted instead of the winning picture. (Photo: Elinor Roizman)

Roizman, a 27-year-old Israel native, has been taking photographs since she was 12, but it wasn't until three years ago that she turned her hobby into a profession. Her Dog-Ma Photography studios takes photos of people's pets. (The tiny Pomeranian in the winning photo is named Lili and belongs to a client.) She also teaches at Israel's Galitz School of Photography and works as a travel guide for photography tours of Tanzania and Lapland. With a degree in animal science from Hebrew University, she spends her spare time studying pet behavior. Which comes in handy considering she herself has three dogs, two cats, a parrot and a horse.

Below are two more photos shot by Roizman. The first is a recent one she took of a 2-year-old girl named Noam who was giving candy to her big dog. "The dog is so gentle with her," she said. The second one features a dog, mid-air, catching a frisbee. It was shot at a photography workshop in Rotterdam called "Dogs in Action" that was led by famed photographer Claudio Piccoli.

A photo taken a few weeks ago shows the love between a girl and her dog. A photo taken a few weeks ago shows the love between a girl and her dog. (Photo: Elinor Roizman)

It's a bird, it's a plane ... it's a dog?!? It's a bird, it's a plane ... it's a dog?!? (Photo: Elinor Roizman)

In recent years, Tel Aviv has become known as one of the most canine-friendly metropolises in the world. According to the city, there’s one dog for every 14 residents – one of the highest rates anywhere. With more than 60 dog parks, an annual dog festival and miles of dog-friendly beaches, it's no wonder Roizman has set up shop here.

"When I started to shoot dogs, people asked me, 'Why are you doing this? Buying gear that costs so much money. And why? You could go and shoot weddings and people will pay you much more,'" Roizman said. "But I really love dogs. The beautiful thing is that you can tell each dog's story. Each one has a different character. One dog will be really playful, the other one more shy. I really love to shoot dogs and horses and be able to tell stories from their point of view. This is really amazing."

MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE:

Photos and SlideshowsPhotos and Slideshows

Related Topics: Animals