William Klein’s celebrated career encompasses street photography, fashion photography, abstract photography, filmmaking, and painting. Often using wide-angle and telephoto shots, Klein’s social documentary photography spans across the streets of New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Moscow, and Rome. His 1956 book Life is Good and Good For You in New York: Trance Witness Reveals (1956) illustrates some of his best-known street images and is acclaimed as one of the most important photo books of all time. Klein is lauded for his revolutionary approach to fashion photography, taking models out of the studio and onto the streets. His fashion works appeared in Vogue magazine for over a decade beginning in 1954 until he turned to filmmaking in the mid 1960s. He returned to still photography in the 1980s, continuing his pioneering and inexorable approach that persisted throughout his early photography and later filmmaking career.
“I came from the outside, the rules of photography didn’t interest me… there were things you could do with a camera that you couldn’t do with any other medium… grain, contrast, blur, cock-eyed framing, eliminating or exaggerating grey tones and so on. I thought it would be good to show what’s possible, to say that this is as valid of a way of using the camera as conventional approaches.”