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William KLEIN

1928-
William KLEIN

Born in New York City in 1928, William Klein is an American photographer and film-maker.

 

At the age of 14, Klein enrolled in the City College of New York to study sociology, before joining the US Army for two years, from 1946 to 1948. He was first stationed in Germany and later in France.

 

Having settled in Paris, he picked up his sociology studies at the Sorbonne and studied painting with Fernand Léger.

 

In the early 1950s, Klein experimented with photography to document his abstract paintings. These pictures brought him into contact with Alexander Liberman, the artistic director of Vogue. Their meeting in 1954 marked the start of a collaboration that lasted more than ten years.

 

Having returned to New York, Klein also started photographing his native city and in 1956 published his first book, whose raw and innovative pictures caused a sensation in the world of photography.

 

Klein would go on to publish three other portraits of cities: Rome in 1958, Moscow in 1962 and Tokyo in 1964.

 

Klein’s audacity profoundly transformed the world of photography and consecrated him as one of the pioneers of street photography and a revolutionary in fashion photography. Klein has inspired generations of photographers.

 

His work is included in the collections of many prestigious institutions, among which The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.