500.000 MILES
– with F.C. Gundlach around the World

Photobastei Zurich

6 September - 27 October 2019

Opening Thursday 5 September 2019 6 p.m.

F.C. Gundlach is considered the grand seigneur of fashion photography. In more than four decades of active work he became one of the most famous fashion photographers of the 20th century. His timeless fashion photographs have often become icons and have shaped the visual memory of entire generations. In addition to F.C. Gundlach's concise formal and visual language, an essential part of his success is based on his early and pronounced travel activity, which led him around the globe like no other fashion photographer of the German post-war era. F.C. Gundlach traveled 500,000 miles from location to location around the world.

The exhibition 500,000 MILES - with F.C. Gundlach around the World  shows with more than 100 works in black and white and color a representative excerpt about the clear visual language as well as the aesthetic attitude of the photographer. It offers an insight into his cultural interests and the sometimes adventurous circumstances under which his pictures were taken all over the world. On display are well-known icons as well as never before shown motifs as vintages and large-format new prints.

Light-footed and casual, his models still embody the spirit of great freedom today. F.C. Gundlach's clients include the elegant magazine Film und Frau as well as major high-circulation film and fashion magazines such as Brigitte, Stern, Quick, Twen and Annabelle. Already at the beginning of the 1950s the editorial of the Film und Frau said that the "talented young man from Stuttgart" would "continue to entertain readers with his lively travel reports". Five years later the Deutsche Illustrierte announced "Star photographer F.C. Gundlach reports from Paris".

The camera is F.C. Gundlach's constant companion. The big fashion metropolises Berlin, Paris and New York are his second home. In addition to fashion shots, he produces impressive travel reports. Long before the flood of mass tourism, F.C. Gundlach visited the pyramids of Egypt, the temples of Angkor Wat or Oscar Niemeyer's futuristic jungle city Brasilia. With great sensitivity, the famous monuments become part of his architecturally ingenious productions.

The motif of the journey runs like a red thread through the life and work of F.C. Gundlach. At the age of 10, F.C. Gundlach was given his first camera: an Agfa Box. He realized early that he wanted to see the world. After training in Kassel, Gundlach started his career as a photo journalist in Stuttgart. These roots will remain with him throughout his life in the form of picture composition and reportage character. In 1950 he went to Paris for the first time, a place of longing of all young Europeans. Here he visited the glamorous fashion courses and unfolded his fashion-photographic visual language. But Paris is only the beginning. From here he travels all over the world for fashion reports. He travelled to New York by ship, shortly afterwards with the Super Constellation. A clever coup earned him an exclusive contract with Lufthansa and enabled him to travel long distances to the remotest places on earth. Egypt and the Near East are his destinations, followed immediately by Persia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Central and South America, the entire African continent...

With his productions all over the world, F.C. Gundlach hits the nerve of time. In addition to his portraits of stars and starlets in fashion, F.C. Gundlach not only satisfies the thirst for glamour, but also the longing for exoticism and internationality. In his unmistakable visual language, he brings a fresh touch of cosmopolitanism to the German living rooms.

F.C. Gundlach's permanent travel activity meant that he sometimes did not know where he was when he woke up and where the next few days would take him. But photography was his driving force and drove him forward, even after his time as an active photographer: as an entrepreneur, collector, curator, gallery owner, museum founder or donor. To this day, standstill and narrowness are two situations that he fears the most.

An exhibition of the F.C. Gundlach Foundation Hamburg
curated by Natalja Aljasova and Jasmin Seck