Franz Christian Gundlach, better known as F.C. Gundlach, (* 16 July 1926 in Heinebach, † 23 July 2021 in Hamburg) was a German photographer, gallery owner, collector, university lecturer, curator and benefactor. In September 2003, he was appointed founding director of the House of Photography at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg.

His fashion photographs of the fifties, sixties and seventies, which repeatedly dealt with social phenomena and current trends in the visual arts, have in many cases become icons, left behind their context of origin and found their way into museums and collections.

As a fashion photographer who uses the recording medium for his productions, the photographer must live, think and feel in his time. Fashion photographs are always interpretations and stagings. They reflect and visualize the zeitgeist of the present and anticipate the spirit of tomorrow. They offer projection screens for identification, but also for dreams, wishes and desires. And yet fashion photographs often say more about a time than documentary photographs pretending to have depicted reality.

F.C. Gundlach at the opening of F.C. Gundlach. The Photographic Work at the Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin 2009

F.C. Gundlach was active into old age: as a producer of renowned national and international exhibition projects, promoter of young photographic talents, keeper of extraordinary photographic estates as well as advisor and visionary in the sense of the medium of photography.


  • 16 July 1926: born in Heinebach (Hessen)

  • His parents Heinrich Gundlach (1894-1954) and Katharina Gundlach, née Nöding (1896-1968) run the restaurant Zum Löwen in Heinebach.

  • 1929: birth of brother Gerhard (d. 2006)

  • 1936: receives his first camera, an Agfa box with self-timer

  • 1938: sets up a darkroom

  • 1936 to 1943: Jacob Grimm Grammar School, Rotenburg/Fulda

  • 15 June 1947 to 30 June 1949: trained as a photographer at the Private School for Modern Photographic Art under Rolf W. Nehrdich in Kassel

  • 1949 to 1953: worked as an assistant in various studios in Wiesbaden (28 July to 15 September 1949 as an operator in the Hollywood Studios under Photo-Labor Ernst O. Keller) 

  • 16 September 1949 to 31 December 1950: assistant to Ingeborg Hoppe in Stuttgart

  • until 1953: freelance assistant to Harry Meerson in Paris

  • 1949 onwards: publications in radio and television magazines such as Film-Revue, Funk-Illustrierte and Gong, including star portraits, reportages and fashion reports in magazines such as Elegante Welt, Film und Frau and stern

  • 1950: first entry into France

  • 1951: 27 October to 27 November exhibition F.C. Gundlach at the Librairie Jean Robert, Paris

  • 1 August 1952: business registration with the city of Stuttgart as "photojournalist"

  • 1952: foundation of Studio 50 with Hans Dieter Schmoll and Horst Jerichow

  • 1952: Publications in radio and fashion magazines, also under the pseudonyms Fenner-Foto and Davidis, advertising photos for Heinzelmann and other clients

  • 1953: beginning of intensive collaboration with Film und Frau, for which he photographs more than 100 covers and over 2500 pages in the editorial fashion section until 1966

  • 1954: registers second home in Hamburg and moves permanently in 1956

  • 1954 to 1966: in addition to his work for Film and Frau, he also takes commissions for Constanze, stern, Quick and other magazines; he also shoots advertisements for Jobis, Maris, IWS and fur companies such as Saga, Thompson and Berger

  • from 1955: cooperation with Deutsche Lufthansa, including photographs on the inaugural flight of Deutsche Lufthansa's North American line as well as on the inaugural flight South America with the Super Constellation and many other flights

  • 1963: Beginning of intensive collaboration with Brigitte, for which he photographs more than 180 cover pictures and over 5500 pages of editorial fashion section until 1986

  • 1966: exclusive contract with Brigitte

  • 1966 to 1986: location trips to Africa, Asia, North and South America

  • in addition to his work for Brigitte, he continues to publish in Annabelle, Revue and other magazines

  • advertising photos for Falke Fashion, Van Delden, Sinz and others

  • 1967: foundation of the company CC (Creative Color GmbH)

  • 1971: foundation of the company PPS. (Professional Photo Service) as a service company for photographers with black-and-white and colour laboratories, rental service, rental studios and its own specialist bookshop

  • 1976: foundation of the PPS. Galerie F.C. Gundlach, one of the first photo galleries in Germany, where it presented around 100 thematic and monographic exhibitions until 1992

  • 1988: appointment as professor at the Berlin University of the Arts

  • from 1989: curator of exhibitions on photo history and photo theory

  • 1992: sale of the PPS group of companies

  • 1993: founding of the Arbeitskreis Photographie in Hamburg, organisation of exhibitions and symposia

  • 1999: initiator of the Triennale of Photography in Hamburg

  • 2000: establishment of the F.C. Gundlach Foundation with the aim of maintaining, scientifically processing and expanding the collection on the "Image of Man in Photography", which has been built up since 1975, as well as his own work

  • 2002: 2nd Triennial of Photography in Hamburg under the motto Reality Check

  • 2003: appointment as founding director of the House of Photography in the Deichtorhallen Hamburg

  • 2003: handover of the collection "The Image of Man in Photography" on permanent loan to the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

  • 2004: reconstruction of the southern Deichtorhallen

  • 2005: 3rd Triennial of Photography under the motto Archive of the Present

  • 2005: re-opening of the House of Photography with the exhibition Martin Munkacsi – Think while you shoot!

  • 2008: 4th Triennial of Photography under the motto Say Cheese

  • 2008: large retrospective of the work of F.C. Gundlach at the Haus der Photographie

  • 2011: 5th Triennial of Photography under the motto Crossing Boundaries

  • 2015: The medium of photography is entitled to provide food for thought, CFA Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin

  • 2015: 6th Triennial of Photography under the motto The Day Will Come

  • 2016: Peter Keetman retrospective Gestaltete Welt at the Museum Folkwang Essen and the Haus der Photographie Hamburg

  • 16 July 2016: 90th birthday celebration

  • 2017: Peter Keetman retrospective Gestaltete Welt at the Kunstfoyer Munich

  • 2018: 7th Triennial of Photography under the motto Breaking Point. Searching for Change

  • 23 July 2021: passed away in Hamburg

Honours and Awards

  • 1972: appointed to the German Photographic Society (DGPh)

  • 1976 to 1996: board of the German Photographic Society (DGPh)

  • 1976 to 1987: board of the German Association of Freelance Photo Designers (BFF)

  • 1980: appointed member of the German Photographic Academy (DFA)

  • 1988: honorary chairman of the Association of Freelance Photo Designers (BFF)

  • 1996: Gold Badge of Honour of the German Photographic Society (DGPh)

  • 1997: Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon

  • 1998: Golden-George-Eastman-Medal for outstanding services to German photography

  • 2000: honorary professorship at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts

  • 2000: appointed to the Free Academy of the Arts in Hamburg

  • 2000 to 2003: chairman of the board of trustees of the German Centre for Photography Berlin

  • 2001: Culture Prize of the German Society for Photography (DGPh)

  • 2006: Medal for Art and Science of the Hamburg Parliament

  • 2008: honorary citizen of the municipality of Alheim/Heinebach

  • 2009: Forum-Prize of the Textile Industry

  • 2011: Culture Prize of the State of Hessen

  • 2012: Henri-Nannen-Prize