William Klein

William Klein is an American born photographer and film-maker  (1928), who lives and works in Paris. He is best known for his approach to media and unusual use of photographic techniques that are based around photojournalism and fashion photography. His most popular works include Gun 1- New York (1955), The Holy Family On a Bike- Rome (1956), Cineposter- Toky0 (1961), work’s for Vogue Magazine (where he worked for 10 years as a fashion photographer) and his Photo Essay’s based on various cities.

His works are said to be similar of Diane Arbus and Saul Leiter. He also uses high grain film, a wide angle lens, likes to print in black and white and also out of focus. He said that “I feel like I’m showing something other people haven’t shown”. [1]

He has also worked for a brief period as Fernand Leger’s assistant, however he was taught no photographic knowledge during that time but persuing his passion for photography at a later date.

Klein’s big commercial break came when Alexander Liberman, the legendary art director of Vogue, saw a small exhibition of his early abstract photographs in 1955 and offered him a job. “Those guys spotted raw talent and encouraged it. They were all Russian Jews in exile: Liberman at Vogue, Alexey Brodovitch at Harper’s Bazaar. They had a knowledge of avant garde art and design that the Americans didn’t have.” [2]

I find his work to be extra-ordinary, he has captured such detail and emotion with a cheeky but personal element. His work is different which I find refreshing, as he has been and captured pure natural emotion within his images of everyday people, as well as staged images i.e. Fig. 9 caused a big stir when it was composed as people weren’t used to seeing people walking the streets that way back then, which is what made him a master in street photography.






[1] ARTNET, (2016). William Klein. [Online] Available from: http://www.artnet.com/artists/william-klein/                                                                    [Accessed: 06 May 2016]

[2] O’HAGAN, S. (2012). William Klein: I Was An Outsider Following My Instincts. The Guardian. [Online] Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/apr/28/william-klein-interview-sony-photography                                                                                                                                     [Accessed: 06 May 2016]

[3] STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE WORLD, (2016). Masters Of Street Photography: William Klein. [Online] Available from: http://www.streetphotographyintheworld.com/masters-of-street-photography-by-carlo-traina/masters-street-photography-william-klein/                                                         [Accessed: 06 May 2016]

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