Beginning a career that spanned six decades in Germany in 1928, Fritz Henle traveled through the Mediterranean, India, China, and Japan in the pre-war 1930s, documenting those travels with his trusted Rolleiflex, before emigrating to the US in 1936. Passionately involved with the relatively new medium of photography, Henle was at once a successful freelance photojournalist, working for Life beginning in 1937; a top fashion photographer in New York during the 40s and early 50s; a portrait photographer sought after by notables of the time; a well traveled documentarist whose work took him to Asia in the pre-war 30s, later to Mexico, Paris, throughout the USA, and to the Caribbean in the late 40s, where he traveled the islands before making his home on St. Croix in 1958.
Tirelessly prolific, Henle published nineteen books of his work, from his first Japan in 1936, to Casals in 1975. His photographs were published over the decades in countless magazines; among them cover stories for Life, fashion editorials shot for Harpers Bazaar, Mademoiselle, Town & Country and others, features in photography periodicals, illustrations in the Travel section of the Sunday New York Times. Numerous one person exhibitions of his photographs, beginning with This is Japan in Tokyo in 1936, helped to establish him as a creative visionary with an exceptional technique, a keen sense of striking composition, and a determination to capture the beauty in life. Arguably one of the best known photographers in America by the mid 1950s, Fritz Henle, who died in 1993, has been described by the late photo historian Helmut Gernsheim as the last of the great classical photographers.