Funke, a law student from a well-to-do family in Kolín, became passionate about photography in 1920 and joined his local amateur club two years later. In 1924, Funke founded the Czech Photographic Society with Josef Sudek, Adolf Schneeberger (1897–1977), and Ludvik Dvorák (1891–1969), promoting modern subjects and proclaiming their allegiance to ideas derived from American photographer Alfred Stieglitz and his circle. From 1924 to 1930, Funke developed an extensive still-life series that depicted materials of darkroom photography: the light bulb from an enlarger, bottles of developer chemicals, mat board, and the hose for washing prints.
In 1931 Funke became a professor of photography at the School of Applied Arts in Bratislava, and then in 1935 at the State Graphic Arts School in Prague. His advertising and design curriculum, modeled on the Bauhaus, emphasized unity of the fine arts, architecture, technology, and design. In 1937 and 1938, Funke made two significant trips to Subcarpathian Ruthenia—a mountainous region now part of Ukraine—that would result in two pivotal series of landscape photography. In the final weeks of World War II the artist died unexpectedly due to illness.