German cinematographer Fritz Wagner got his start with the Pathe film company working as a clerk after studying at the University of Leipzig. At the time he joined the company, he was attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris. Because he was interested in cinematography, Wagner became a newsreel cameraman stationed in New York. In 1919, he returned to Berlin to work as a primary cameraman for Decia-Bioscop. During the '20s, Wagner was among Germany's most in-demand directors of photography and played a key role in the expressionist movement. During this time, Wagner worked with some of his country's finest directors, including Murnau and Lang. His career, like many of his colleagues, went into a gradual decline after the Nazis took over in 1933. He died in an automobile accident in 1958.