William Klein Fashion Photography

-Audrey Hepburn (Photography by William Klein)

I was introduced to William Klein by photographer, Matt Wignall, who recently did a photo shoot for Gold Motel in Long Beach, CA. After realizing we shared common taste in the realm of fashion photography, Matt pulled out a book of Klein’s works and prepared me to have “my head blown off.”

Although Klein – untrained in photography and a painter by trade – was only involved in the fashion world for a few years in the mid to late fifties, he revolutionized the fashion world with his unorthodox methods and signature style. The effects of his work with Vogue are still felt today, most notably in recent Dolce & Gabbana ad campaigns.

Klein’s work was considered revolutionary for its “ambivalent and ironic approach to the world of fashion”, its “uncompromising rejection of the then prevailing rules of photography” and for his extensive use of wide angle and telephoto lenses, natural lighting and motion blur. At the time, these techniques were considered too avant-garde for the mainstream and high-brow fashion world. Not only did Klein introduce these techniques, he made them common place.

Outside of painting and photography, Klein is also remembered as a film-maker (In 1956, a 28–year old William Klein arrived in Rome to assist Federico Fellini on his film Nights of Cabiria [1957]). His most notable feature being the 1969 documentary on Muhammad Ali, “Muhammad Ali: The Greatest.”

At the age of 82, Klein is still alive today.


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