Born in Berlin and grown up in Argentina, he returned to Berlin to study graphics. From 1924 he worked for the Presse-Photo agency. He learned and developed innovative techniques, including the combi-photography. In 1933 he moved to Lake Constance, where he focused on nature themes and insects. After travelling to Brazil for photo-reportages, he decided to use nature and snakes in particular to experiment with different techniques. In 1949 he met Otto Steinert, who introduced him to the Photoform group. In 1955 he was appointed Professor of Photography and Photographics at the University of the Arts in Berlin. He became a representative of the Neues Sehen (New Vision) movement and Subjective photography in Germany.