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GUNDLACH, a great photographer and collector

The more you know about something the more you enjoy it. The German photographer F.C. Gundlach (Germany, 1926) owns one of the most important fashion collections in the world. He has held a place of honour as a fashion photographer with photos that are estimated to have occupied more than 180 covers and 5,500 pages in all major fashion magazines.

His collection is a luxury: a lush journey through fashion photography throughout the twentieth century. There are two hundred originals and the signatures of the authors call for respect. Do not miss a single one of the greats.

The list of photographers includes, among others, Richard Avedon, Lillian Bassman, Erwin Blumenfeld, Guy Bourdin, Louise Dalh-Wolfe, George Hoyningen-Huene, William Klein, David Lachapelle, Peter Lindbergh, Sarah Moon, Helmun Newton, Horst P. Horst, Irvin Penn and Melvin Solkosky.

Gallery owner, collector, promoter and kind of a renaissance patron, Gundlach was collecting works of his colleagues since a very young age. Sometimes he bought them and sometimes they were given to him. He was never a man with a classicist eye, but truly loved all types of photography from which the soul of the author emanated. In his gallery in Hamburg, the mythical PPS, presented between 1975 and 1992, radical artists like Joel Peter Witkin, Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe, Wolfgang Tillmans and Jurgen Teller.

Convinced that fashion, except for an ideal manifestation of beauty, is a catalogue of expressions where distinction and communication merge in historical trends, ahead of their time.

Fashion photos reflect the change of what is coming, and this is the great added value. His photographs, shot both outdoors and in studios, are somewhere between documentation and staging.

Born in Heinebach (Hesse) in 1926, F.C. Gundlach is considered the most prominent fashion photographer in the early decades of the Federal Republic of Germany. He was the undisputed star of the international scene for over forty years and his work has become a chapter in the history of this phenomenon, leaving his mark on the perception of it in Germany. He knew how to stage fashion in constant metamorphosis, defining it through the poses and gestures of the models, props and sets; reflecting the aesthetic ideals and the history of fashion in this social change.

“The first thing is the impression of a person’s exterior”, explains one of the most prominent fashion photographers of the twentieth century. So powerful is the element of human perception, that it contributes greatly to the choices we make each day as well as the development of the stories that gradually, over time, influence the course of history.

He began taking photographs during 1950 and 1960; one of the most important decades of the last century when a social change occurred that included, among other events, the emancipation of women. At this time “the image of women changed”, Gundlach said, “They began to work and that led them to express themselves with a freedom that they previously did not have”. This new freedom made fashion photography work with free gestures that represented emancipated women and you could perceive their position in society and in life; just like you perceived the world around them.

During this time, there were also changes in the world of fashion. The prêt-à-porter or “ready to wear” enabled the general public to wear the trends of some of the world’s most acclaimed designers. Some thought that this marked the death of the exclusive haute couture, but it didn’t. “Fashion is always a manifestation of the spirit of the time. It’s in constant movement. The form described the gestures of fashion and the spirit of that moment and from that moment on fashion photography allowed people to express their personality”. Gundlach took his models to exotic places, to cosmopolitan cities, and gave them the freedom to express themselves and feel the places.

And since history inspired him to tell stories, he has a place in history.



  1. india / 14 March 2012

    Es una debilidad en mí la imagen de los cuellos, los cuellos anatómicos y los de las hechuras de las ropas… me gustan largos, interminables los primeros… y envolventes los segundos… Imaginará mi deleite con las fotografías seleccionadas para ilustrar este post, desde la primera a pesar del juego de sombras, hasta la última, en la que es un animal tan estilizado como el avestruz, quien lo impone… y sin embargo, “Lo primero que tenemos es la impresión de una persona desde el exterior”… no creo que sean los cuellos en ninguna de ellas aquello en lo que pretenda recaer la atención… habiendo un juego de trenzas, o una geometría atrayente, o un vuelo de capa… incluso una modelo sobre el animal… Lo tomo como ejemplo para mí, de que la fotografía de moda es más que un muestrario de prendas…
    “Más se disfruta de cualquier tema, cuanto más se conoce o iniciado se esté”… y qué cierto! Gracias a leerla, reconozco los nombres que menciona, veo imágenes de ellos que aprendí a través de sus escritos… y satisface aún más la lectura, Sra. Garrido… por lo que le debo un Gracias que escribir con mayúsculas!

  2. Pilar Mandl / 27 March 2012

    ¡Siempre aprendiendo con tus artículos! “Aprendiendo a conocer para disfrutar” ¡Preciosas la selección de las imágenes!
    Gracias de nuevo por hacernos un poco menos ignorantes.

    Pilar Mandl

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