Blue Earth
Glazer's Camera

Henry Froelich, 1922-2008


Henry Froehlich, a founder of Konica Camera Co. and a pioneer in the 20th-century photographic industry, died peacefully on Jan. 24 at the age of 85.

Froehlich formed many long-term relationships with retailers, photographers and other industry members over the years. From its inception, he was an advocate for the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York City and became a member of its President's Council.

Froehlich, who was Jewish, was born in Rottweil, Germany, in 1922. In 1937, his family moved to Stuttgart, which had a larger Jewish community. The next year, his father was taken to a concentration camp during Kristallnacht.

After emigrating to the United States in 1940 and reuniting with his mother and brother, he began his career in the photo business as an assembler with the Landes Brothers. He then started an import/export business, and was among the first to recognize the potential and quality of photographic products made in Japan.

Froehlich founded Konica in Philadelphia in 1951, having previously acquired the U.S. distribution rights for Konica from the Japanese parent firm. In 1962, he merged Konica with Berkey Photo, where he was president until 1982.

He continued with other ventures in the photofinishing arena through 1987, when the exclusive distribution rights for Mamiya medium-format cameras and Toyo large-format cameras became available. He partnered with Paul Klingenstein and Jan Lederman to establish the Mamiya America Corp. (MAC). In later years, the MAC Group added more lines to its product offerings, including Profoto, Leaf, Sekonic, PocketWizard, X-Rite, Eizo, Pantone, Multicart, Tenba and Induro. In each case, Froehlich assisted these brands in improving their market positions. In 2006, he retired as chairman of the board for the MAC Group.