Franz Fiedler (1885 – 1956) was born in Prostějov, near Olomouc in Moravia. A pupil of Hugo Erfurth, he was regarded as an eccentric during his apprenticeship in Pilsen; he worked in 1905 and again in 1912 with Rudof Dührkoop in Hamburg, and from 1908 to 1911 again with Erfurth in Dresden. At the 1911 world exhibition in Turin he won first prize and had another exhibition in Prague in 1913. He belonged to the circle of Jaroslav Hašek and Egon Erwin Kisch, and in 1916 married Erna Hauswald in Dresden where he occupied a studio at Sedanstraße 7.
From 1919, and coincidental with his friendship with Madame d’Ora (Dora Kallmus, of Vienna who was later to move to Paris) he began to work with a 9×12 folding camera and in 1921 first published ‘Narre Tod, Mein Spielgesell’ (Fool Death, My Playmate). Originally a portfolio of 8 photographs, by final publication in 1924-25 it had apparently been appended to include an original drawing and an additional 3 photos.
By 1924 he had become one of the first professional photographers to use a Leica. After expanding his studio in 1925, he took part in the exhibition “Film und Foto” in Stuttgart.
His publication on the city of Dresden, conceived in the spirit of Die Neue Sachlichkeit, was one of the first illustrated works created according to new principles of photography. It marks a turning point in his work, in the same series as Sasha Stone’s more famous ‘Berlin in Bildern’ published by Adolf Behne. Their work was the subject of a newer show in 2006/2007 in the Berlinischen Galerie.
Fiedler’s studio was destroyed on 13 February 1945. All that was left was a box with photographs for exhibition which was deposited with his family in Moravia. After 1945 he did not have his own studio and earned a living in the GDR as author of books on photography.