F.C. Gundlach (Franz Christian Gundlach, born 16. July 1926 in Heinebach, died 23. July 2021 in Hamburg) is considered one of the greatest fashion photographers of his time. For over four decades, he captured fashion and icons and shaped entire generations with his photography like no other.
He was given his first camera at the age of ten. He collected autograph cards from stars, studied the coverage of the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung attentively, and was determined to see the world and help shape the image people had of it.
After his training in Kassel, F.C. Gundlach works as a freelance photojournalist in Stuttgart, and assists at the Hollywood studios in Wiesbaden. Icons portraits, reportages and fashion reports appear in radio and television magazines.
In 1950 he visits Paris for the first time. The glittering Parcours of fashion cast a spell over him and never let him go for the rest of his life. From 1953 he photographs for Film und Frau. Here he not only captures the elegant fashions of the famous couturiers but also pictures the great film stars of his time in the context of home stories and portrait sessions. Jean-Luc Godard, Yves Montand, Simone Signoret, Hildegard Knef, Romy Schneider and Cary Grant do the honours.
For his fashion pictures, F.C. Gundlach travelled the world from the mid-1950s:
He took the famous pictures of models wearing bathing caps in front of the pyramids, photographed the ruins of the gods' towers at Angkor Wat and the futuristic architecture of Oscar Niemeyer's Brasilia just as brilliantly and as skilfully as the black-and-white Op Art silhouettes of the Parisian fashion houses Lend and Courrèges or the legendary Space Age look of Cardin.
F.C. Gundlach's idiosyncratic and memorable signature combined with his reduced-form visual language lead to photo spreads in leading magazines such as Quick, Stern, Annabelle and Brigitte.
Whether portraits or fashion pictures, F.C. Gundlach's photographic work was always centred on an interest in the human image. In a short time, he became one of the most sought-after photographers of the second half of the 20th century. His impressive portraits and close-ups of Romy Schneider are characterized by an incredible closeness to the photographed subject, classics of authentic beauty.
When F.C. Gundlach put down his camera at the end of the 1980s, his pictures did not lose their significance. Thanks to their clear and reduced formal language, they function far beyond the context in which they were taken. Many of them have since become icons of photography. Even today, they are published by influential fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, and L'Officiel and shown in exhibitions around the globe - from New York to Moscow, via Beirut to Shenzhen. Some of them are in famous collections such as the J. Paul Getty Museum.
Romy Schneider (23 September 1938 – 29 May 1982), captured in this picture by F.C. Gundlach, was a German-French actress. Her role as the Austro-Hungarian Empress Sissi gave Romy Schneider (1938–1982) her breakthrough. At the tender age of 16, the Vienna-born actress became famous the world over, and she would quickly become revered as an icon in film history.
Romy Schneider is one of the women who were a major inspiration behind the Högl Autumn/Winter collection. The Vienna-born actress celebrated her greatest screen successes in the 70s and went down in history as an unforgettable style icon. It wasn’t just her personality, her charisma and her beauty that were mesmerising, but also the fact that she never gave in to the zeitgeist, leading a self-determined life despite the outdated role models that prevailed at that time.
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