With a degree in engineering, mathematics and philosophy, he started to familiarise with photography due to his father’s position at Zeiss Ikon. He studied in Weimar and soon after he was invited to join Bauhaus. He became an advocate for the Neues Sehen (New Vision) movement. In 1938 Mies van der Rohe, whom he met at the Bauhaus, invited him to teach the visual training course at the Illinois Institute of Technology. After WWII he returned to Germany and became Professor of photography at the Ulm School of Design. He continued to work in Germany until his death by heart attack in 1960.