After studying medicine Otto Steinert (German, 1915-1978) served as a medic in France and the Soviet Union during World War II. He then taught himself photography. In 1947 he started working as a portrait photographer in Saarbrücken and the following year he founded the photography class at the Staatliche Schule für Kunst und Handwerk. Steinert and Peter Keetman were among the founders of the fotoform group. Steinert organized the international exhibitions subjektive fotografie in 1951, 1954, and 1958. In 1959 he became head of the photography department at the Folkwangschule in Essen where he taught until 1978. There he built an extensive photography collection for scholarly research and curated annual exhibitions on aspects of photographic history for the Museum Folkwang Essen.