William Klein

This is William Klein’s “Contacts Vol. 1, Portraits of Contemporary Photographers”.

It is rare to hear a great photographer, talking about their contact sheets and work in such an illuminating manner. For more information on Klein visit http://www.masters-of-photography.com/K/klein/klein.html

Here are two thought provoking qoutes from the man….

“Be yourself. I much prefer seeing something, even it is clumsy, that doesn’t look like somebody else’s work.” William Klein

“I used the wide-angle lens as a normal lens. I had no philosophy about it. When I looked in the viewfinder and realized I could see all the contradictions and confusion that was there with the wide-angle — that was what was great… I’d had a Rolleiflex with different lenses, I wouldn’t have cropped that much. I had no compunction about cropping, because I did my own layouts…[And] I’d use anything in printing. Throw cyanide, white out over things. I approached photography a little bit like a painter would play with a lithograph, fooling around, pouring milk, tea, anything on it. It was the sort of thing that anybody with any sort of strict, classic photographic training would have qualms about. But I had no qualms at all about doing things with photography. First of all, I had no knowledge of it, and I couldn’t care less, because I thought the whole photographic world was alien.” William Klein (via Lens Culture)

2 comments to William Klein

  • Roger,
    I saw a big William Klein exhibition in Edinburgh 8-10 years ago and it is one of the stand out exhibitions I’ve seen. Huge energy and visual impact and beautifully printed too. I believe he used a 28mm. lens.


  • Colin – I beleive that Klein was very innovative. John Heilpern said “Klein experimented with flash, wide-angle, grab shots, abstraction, blur, close-up, accidents, deformations, harsh printing, special layouts, and inking”. He went on to compare and contrast him to Robert Frank (of “The Americans” fame)and said that Frank had shown “America as never before”, but that Klein found “ways of showing it as never before”.