Master of fashion photography F.C. Gundlach celebrates 90 years with 90 photos | Arts | DW | 14.07.2016
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Master of fashion photography F.C. Gundlach celebrates 90 years with 90 photos

Renowned for his iconic post-war fashion photography, the German F.C. Gundlach also loved to travel around the world with his camera. He's selected 90 of his very best pictures for an exhibition for his 90th birthday.

Gundlach became internationally renowned for his iconic fashion photography from the 1950s to the 70s. His work combines fashion and nature, portraits of famous artists, and exceptional photo reportages, as well as experimental works.

Selfies in the 1930s

Born as Franz Christian Gundlach in Heinebach on July 16, 1926, he developed his interest in photography early on. In 1936, he owned his first camera: an Agfa box with a self-timer.

"I took my first picture when I was 10 years old. In 1936, I got a box with a silver seat. It was the first time that you could take a picture of yourself - just like a selfie!," the photographer said in an interview.

Two years later, in 1938, he set up a darkroom to develop his photos.

However, World War II interrupted his early vocation, as he was drafted into the army and deployed from 1944 on. He was captured by the US army in April 1945.

Back to work after the war

After the war, Gundlach returned to his passion. From 1947 to 1949 he was trained by photographer Rolf W. Nehrdich in Kassel, Germany. He opened his first photo studio with a colleague from school the following year.

Gundlach also worked as an operator in the Hollywood studios in Wiesbaden in 1949. That the same year, he published his first theater and film reportages in magazines, such as "Deutsch Illustrierte," "Quick," "Film-Revue" and "Der Stern."

As of 1953, he began specializing as a fashion photojournalist. He then started to work for the famous magazine "Film und Frau" in Hamburg.

Exhibition F.C. Gundlach 90 years, 90 photos, © CFA-Berlin/F.C. Gundlach

"Flamingo-Man" from 1960

From Romy Schneider to Jean-Luc Godard

Gundlach became famous through his fashion reportages featuring movie stars and artists such as Romy Schneider, Hildegard Knef, Dieter Borsche, and Jean-Luc Godard.

He lived in the Paris for some years, and travelled to the Middle East and throughout South America for other fashion and travel photography projects.

Entrepreneurial spirit

Beyond his work as a photographer, Gundlach was also involved in a series of projects, as a gallery owner, collector, professor, curator and patron of the arts.

He opened his gallery, "Galerie F.C. Gundlach," in 1976. It was one of the first galleries for photography in Germany. Over the following two decades, the artist presented more than 100 exhibitions.

In 1988 he was hired as a professor at the Academy of Arts in Berlin, and four years later he started to work as a curator for galleries and museums in Hamburg, Berlin and internationally.

He founded the "Stiftung F.C. Gundlach" trust in 2000. He was also founding director and artistic director of the House of Photography in Hamburg from 2003 to 2005.

90 years, 90 photos

Now, to celebrate his 90th birthday on July 16, F.C. Gundlach has prepared a special exhibition for the Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery in Berlin.

Compiled by the photographer himself, the exhibition "F.C. Gundlach - 90 years, 90 photos" features his personal favorites from a substantial body of work. The photos cover different fashion eras - from the 1950s in Berlin to high fashion shows in Paris - and explore several continents of the world.

The exhibition is on show until September 10, 2016.

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Photographer F.C. Gundlach turns 90

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