Dr. Klaus Petersen, 88, former owner of Obergassner photo wholesale business and the long-time director, European activities, Photo Marketing Association International (PMA), passed away Dec. 27, 2020, at his home in Munich, Germany.
Dr. Petersen founded Obergassner together with his father, Edgar, in the early 1950s. Starting from a small shared office space, the company initially specialized in cameras, accessories such as light meters and binoculars. After building this into a very successful import/export business, Obergassner began to market their own range of cameras under the brand OGA, as well as a private-label film of the same name. As the company grew they added a photofinishing lab and a chain of photo specialty stores called Foto Express. Another important part of their business was supplying private label films to a range of German retailers and mail order companies.
Obergassner was a regular exhibitor at both photokina in Cologne and the PMA shows in the United States. After selling Obergassner in 1990, Dr. Petersen joined PMA as their representative in Europe. He was instrumental in making PMA well known throughout the continent and significantly increased the European membership base. Under his tutelage, further offices were opened in Prague, Milan, and Moscow. He also made it easier for large numbers of European trade visitors to attend the annual convention and trade shows by offering package deals, combining his two main interests: photo business and travel.
For many years, Dr. Petersen was one of the most respected members in the photo industry, which earned him an induction into DGPh, the German Society for Photography. Throughout his career as a wholesaler, he was known for his fairness and dependability, even among his competitors. In 1995, he was inducted into the PMA Hall of Fame.
Dr. Petersen is survived by his wife of 61 years, Helga, his daughters Karen and Martina, and his grandchildren Nicolas and Jessica.