Born in New York City, USA, 1928
William Klein is a photographer best known for incorporating unusual elements into his photographs and
videos. Born in New York, he grew up as a Jewish boy on an area where anti-Semitism was common. He turned to art at a young age as a way to escape from his peers. He frequently visited the Museum of Modern Art, and he studied at the City College of New York before enlisting in the Army.
In 1948, he left the United States and traveled to France, where he studied painting with Fernand Léger and later enrolled at the Sorbonne. After marrying Jeanne Florin, Klein started to work in the Abstract genre. He later gained inspiration from Mondrian and the Bauhaus movement that was sweeping
Europe. Klein started creating murals, which gained him attention from Angelo Mangiarotti. The two collaborated on several projects while Klein worked for Domus, an Italian architecture magazine.
Klein moved back to New York in the 1950s and started working as a photographer. He experimented with new techniques, which created unusual shading, odd angles, and other new elements on the finished images.
Klein met Alexander Liberman, and the two began a partnership. Klein shot a number of fashion photographs for Vogue, the magazine for which Liberman worked but became disillusioned with fashion
photography and went on to create a series that depicted the darker side of life in New York. When no one would publish the photos, he turned the images into the book New York. He later published the photographic books Rome, Moscow, and Tokyo.
Klein turned to film in the 1980s, creating the works Broadway By Light, Who Are You Polly Maggoo?, and The Messiah.
Klein’s influence on contemporary photography and technique is hard to calculate, such as been his impact on the art form. A major retrospective of his entire career was stage at the Tate Modern (London) in 2014.