Petra Wunderlich was born in 1954 in Gelsenkirchen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. She studied at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris and Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Hochschule für Bildende Künste (M.F.A.).
Petra Wunderlich studied 1985-1988 with Thomas Ruff, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Axel Hütte, and Thomas Struth on Bernd and Hilla Becher in Dusseldorf. She is a professor of photography at the University of Lucerne, Department of Art and Design. She became known internationally with her series of stone quarries.