More than just the woman at Dieter Rams’ side: photographer Ingeborg Kracht-Rams has died.

Camera shots by Ingeborg Rams. Dieter Rams was allowed to press the shutter release. Copyright: Dieter and Ingeborg Rams Foundation

As only now became known, the photographer Ingeborg Kracht-Rams has already died on May 7 in her 91st year in Kronberg nearby Frankfurt. An obituary distributed by the city of Frankfurt and the Museum Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt quotes a statement by Dieter Rams on his 90th birthday on May 20, in which he says of his wife: “We were always a team.” For the famous industrial designer, the photographer was always “a creative counterpart at eye level” and thus far more than just the woman at his side.

Born in 1931 to an entrepreneurial family in Bochum, Ingeborg Kracht began training in 1948 in the studio of theater, architecture and advertising photographer Grete Hamer in Bochum. She developed her own matter-of-fact photographic style and completed numerous assignments at Hamer’s studio until 1954. She created industrial and landscape portraits of the Ruhr region, as well as portraits of actors and actresses from the Bochum theater. Ingeborg Kracht then studied photography at the Folkwang School in Essen under Bauhaus student Werner Graeff. Through the mediation of her friend Marlene Schneyder, who had been working as an advertising photographer for the Braun company since 1955, she spent a few months in 1957 at Mediacolor in Darmstadt becoming familiar with the emerging field of color photography. Nevertheless, she always preferred black-and-white photography.

In the same year, together with Marlene Schneyder, she worked for the first time as a photographer for the Braun company at the International Building Exhibition in Berlin. She was subsequently hired on a permanent basis in the “Advertising & Design” department on September 1, 1957. A year later, the two female photographers travel to the World Exhibition in Brussels on behalf of Braun. After Schneyder and other colleagues left the company, Ingeborg Kracht, together with Wilfried Indinger, Ulf Beckert and Pit Schumann, continued the objective advertising photography in 1958/59, which convincingly conveyed the new Braun design. In 1963, she ended her employment with Braun and traveled through South Africa for six months. In the years that followed, she took freelance photographs for Braun, but also for Vitsoe, and documented the exhibitions of Dieter Rams, to whom she had been married since December 1967. In the new permanent exhibition of Dieter Rams at the Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt am Main, which has been on display since May, photographic works by Ingeborg Kracht-Rams for Braun and Vitsoe are also on display for the first time.


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