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Wednesday, 14 September 2022


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I remember one of the many monthly Photo Mags that I read back in the day did an article on Klein's technique for street photography (before I knew it had a name), where he put a wide angle lens on his camera and immersed himself into crowds, shooting straight on group shots of strangers. That became my motif for a year, which cured me of my voyeuristic telephoto street shooting. It also taught me to love those DOF scales on prime lenses, since this was zone focusing close in.

Its probably 3 decades since I read that article and I can still see Klein's images in my mind's eye.

I highly recommend (to photographers and certain others at least--they're not for everyone) the French TV series "Contacts", which Klein conceived. Each episode features a famous photographer's contact sheets and their commentary (sometimes about that specific sheet, sometimes about photography generally).

The introductory episode concerns Klein's own contact sheets and is available on youtube:

I'm sure the narration is Klein's words, but probably not his voice.

I think I viewed the whole series, ages ago, via Netflix DVDs.

Re the French TV series Contacts. The whole series seems to be available on youtube. Here's a playlist (not mine):


This series seems very much inspired by / related to the approach that Mike describes in the post. But however you feel about that, it's an Olympian lineup: HCB, Koudelka, Goldin, Sugimoto, the Bechers, Michals, Newton, etc.

Peter Turnley wrote a short, wonderful, emotional and touching tribute to William Klein on his Instagram account, and included a rather wonderful informal photo-portrait he took of Mr. Klein - with whom he had a friendly collegial relationship - some years ago. It's worth tracking down Peter's Instagram account and reading.

I bought the Errata facsimile of "William Klein – Life is Good & Good for You in New York" on closeout for €13.50 in February this year from artbooksonline.eu.
You can still get it there, but the price is adjusted for recent events. It is definitely a book I would love to see reprinted in its original form or maybe the 1995 version you mention.

There was a great one hour documentary on youtube which I have seen several times, most recently 2-3 month ago.
Sadly I don't recall the title and I can't seem to find it anymore, so I suspect it is taken down.
WK is revisiting NY and there is a memorable sene in a Harlem barber shop. If anyone know if it is available elsewhere, I'd love to know.

William Klein: In Pictures

An exclusive video interview with William Klein and a first-ever glimpse behind the scenes at his Paris studio.

Unlike Robert Frank (for example), I'd suggest it's difficult to underestimate Klein's impact on major stylistic movements within photography-as-art-practice in the mid-late 20th century (Eikoh Hosoe, the subsequent 'Provoke' era and subsequent photographic practice within that aesthetic in Japan owe a huge amount to Klein's visual influence), but because a good chunk of that influence happened outside of the USA, where Frank seems to have had a bigger impact on the nascent position of photography-within-the-academy/gallery there seems to be a tendency to try to shunt Klein into specific and disconnected categories (street/ fashion, etc), possibly because he is harder to explain to buyers who want their art/ practice pre-explained and shrinkwrapped.

I viewed the book `New York' in 2001 and was blown away. Comparing it to The Americans was like comparing a Porsche (New York) to a VW (The Americans.) No contest.
I know most will disagree with but after reading many reviews of The Americans and finding only a few reviews available of New York I still believe New York was the important photo book of the 50s.
OK people hit me.

Just a heads up for those in the EU.
As of writing this 18. sept 2022. Amazon.de is taking preorders for William Klein: Yes for €38.99 (delivery December '22).
Amazon.com and ICP's preorder price is $95.00 (delivery next year) - a substantial difference.
Don't know what is going on.

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