Born to a coffee merchant family, he studied at the Heidelberg University and started to work in the family business, taking photographs while travelling. In 1930 he met Andreas Feininger, who introduced him to Rolliflex and enabled him to develop his technical and artistic skills. In 1936 he left Germany for Paris, where he briefly started a collaboration with Harper’s Bazaar, but gave up fashion photography for still life compositions in the style of metafisica photography. He travelled around Europe, mainly Athens, Vienna and Paris. During these years he also took up drawings and moved to Norway until 1945. After WWII he became an editor for the magazine HEUTE and Magnum, with Henri Cartier Bresson. In this period he travelled to Italy, Spain, Morocco and the Caribbean and he published thematic collections of photography.