Rolf Coulanges has been an active member of the board of the German Association of Cinematographers BVK since 1996. In 2015 be became a member of the IMAGO board and since last year he has been serving as vice president of this international organisation of cinematographers.
Rolf Coulanges studied philosophy at Heidelberg University from 1969-74 where he was taught by Georg Picht. During these years, he founded a documentary film group at the university which produced a number of short films on the subject of the war in Vietnam. In 1971-73 he mounted an independent cinema project which included films from Indochina, Latin America and Africa.
Following his studies, Rolf Coulanges began training as a cameraman in 1974; he worked as an assistant cameraman at the German television network ZDF from 1974 to 1977. From 1977-79 he worked as a second unit cameraman on feature films shot in Hamburg and abroad.
In 1983 he received a degree in Cinematography and Direction from the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin. While working as a freelance cameraman with a special interest in documentaries and features, experimentation and hand-held camera, he also began directing his own work beside the professional work as a director of photography. He has been making his own films since 1981. He is particularly interested in documentaries which focus on the politics and culture of Latin America, Africa and Asia, as well as films about music and its history.
Rolf Coulanges taught at the SFOF (Berlin Technical College of Film and Television) from 1987-91. Since 1992 until today he has also worked regularly every year as a guest professor on cinematography at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin, the Film Academy in Ludwigsburg and the Hamburg Media School for postgraduate professionals. Since 1992 he is teaching annually at the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Television in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba; from 1999-2005 he is head of the department of cinematography. He was appointed tenured professor for cinematography at the University of Media in Stuttgart from 2001 until 2010.