Having been denied training as an actress, Barbara Gass (born in 1939, actual name Bärbel Maria Junkenitz) attended a course of studies at the Munich School of Photography at the end of the 1950s, which she concluded with a master’s certificate in 1976 after taking a break for family reasons.
Via her children, she met the director, writer and painter Herbert Achternbusch (born in 1938). He allowed her to take photographs to document his first cinema film "Andechser Gefühl" in 1974, in which she played a supporting role. She was part of the artist’s "family" from then on, besides Annamirl and Sepp Bierbichler, Margarethe von Trotta, Axel Milberg and others. More than 30 films directed by Achternbusch followed, of which she accompanied seventeen as set photographer over a period of 20 years (1977 – 1998). Their close bond of trust permitted photographs of unique quality, which document all the facets of Achternbusch’s personality and his avantgardistic work and have formed part of many publications.
The archive comprises a total of 14,000 negatives and over 1,500 high-quality enlargements, among them all images that could be seen in numerous exhibitions in Munich and beyond. In addition to the photos from the sets of Achternbusch’s films, also pictures of Munich form part of the collection. It was acquired by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in 2020.
The cataloguing and digitization of the material are still in their early stages.