F.C. Gundlach at Work

Elbschloss Residenz Hamburg

July 18 - October 17, 2021

Dark blue blazer, pocket square, striking glasses - always neatly and elegantly dressed, that's how F.C. Gundlach is known. He is considered the epitome of Hanseatic destiny and the grand seigneur of German fashion photography. In more than four decades of active work, he advanced to become one of the most famous fashion photographers of the 20th century. 
His style-defining fashion photographs shaped the zeitgeist of entire generations and have long been icons in the collective visual memory. Seemingly light and weightless, his models pose and float gracefully across the picture plane in the respective current collections. But what appears so effortless is often the result of hard work and detailed preparation. The young photographer's recipe for success and his guiding life motto into old age are therefore: hard work, discipline and a touch of fortune!

F.C. Gundlach started his career at a time when the course of a shooting was not yet organized by large production companies. The motto was: the photographer is himself and often everything in one person - location scout, lighting designer, hairdresser, stylist and assistant. 

His clients, in addition to the elegant magazine Film und Frau, were even then high-circulation magazines such as Stern, Quick, Twen and Annabelle. But it wasn't until he moved to Brigitte in 1964 that a small team consisting of the fashion editor, an assistant and the models accompanied him. The suitcases with the fashion to be photographed and the equipment were still carried to the location by the photographer himself or transported by porters hired on location. And so it goes on foot, by camel, jeep or seaplane through jungle, pampas or desert ...

In addition to his striking formal and pictorial language, his success was based in large part on this early and pronounced travel activity, which took him around the globe like no other fashion photographer of the German post-war era. Under an exclusive contract with Deutsche Lufthansa, F.C. Gundlach flew around the world beginning in 1956. As a photographer, he documented the inaugural flights of the new long-haul routes. He resourcefully had the payment reimbursed in the form of bonus miles and was thus able to return later to the most beautiful locations with models and fashion for his fashion shoots.

In this way, the fashion magazines profited from the feeling of a wide world and distant exoticism that F.C. Gundlach conveyed with his glamorous photographs. Long before mass tourism and package tours, he visited the pyramids of Egypt, the temple complexes of Angkor Wat, downtown New York, or Oscar Niemeyer's futuristic jungle city of Brasilia. With great sensitivity, the famous monuments became part of his architecturally sophisticated productions.

With some 95 exhibits in black and white and color, the exhibition F.C. Gundlach at Work provides an insight into the photographer's clear visual language as well as his aesthetic approach. Working shots show the photographer in action and the sometimes adventurous circumstances under which his pictures were taken all over the world.

The motif of travel runs through F.C. Gundlach's life and work like a common thread. At the age of 10, F.C. Gundlach was given his first camera: an Agfa Box. After training in Kassel, F.C. Gundlach began his career as a photojournalist in Stuttgart. These roots remained with him throughout his life in the form of image composition and reportage character. In 1950, he traveled for the first time to Paris, the place of yearning for all young Europeans. Here he visited the glamorous parcours of haute couture and developed his fashion photographic visual language.

Location travels took him to the most remote places on earth: Egypt and the Near East were his early destinations, followed immediately by Persia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Central and South America, the entire African continent...

F.C. Gundlach's permanent traveling led to the fact that many a time he did not know where he was when he woke up and where the next day or plane would take him.
But photography is and remains his constant drive. 
Even after his time as an active photographer: whether as an entrepreneur, collector, curator, gallery owner, museum founder or benefactor.
A life for photography.

For more information or images, please contact us.
F.C. Gundlach Foundation
Parkallee 33
20144 Hamburg
040 - 44 45 51

Elbschloss Residence
Entrance Elbschlossstraße 11
22609 Hamburg
Daily 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Appointments for viewing can be made at the following number: 
040 - 819 91 10
The current hygiene measures apply.