William Klein, American photographer in Paris, dies at 96 | Partner Content: Arts, Films and TV
PARIS (AP) — William Klein, an American photographer whose innovative style of portraiture heavily influenced fashion and street photography in the second half of the 20th century, has died at 96.
Klein died Saturday in Paris, his son, Pierre Klein, announced in a statement Monday.
Born in New York in 1926 to Hungarian-Jewish parents, Klein grew up in Manhattan and studied sociology at the City College of New York. After serving in Europe in the US Army during World War II, he moved to Paris to study painting under the GI Bill.
Klein met and married Jeanne Florin, model and painter, shortly after arriving in Paris. The couple lived together in France until his death in 2005.
Klein, who studied briefly with French painters André Lhote and Fernand Léger, had his first solo exhibition of paintings in Brussels in 1951, and another in Milan a year later. In 1954, he turned to photography after meeting Alexander Liberman, the artistic director of Vogue, and began a 10-year collaboration with the magazine.
During the same period, he created a groundbreaking photographic diary of his native New York, titled “Life is Good and Good for You in New York.” The book showcased Klein’s unconventional use of wide angles, contrasts in composition, and unusual framing, which came to define the still-nascent genre of street photography.
The book was published in Paris, London and Rome in 1956 and won the Nadar Prize the following year. He published other photographic journals from other cities, Rome in 1959, Moscow and Tokyo in 1964, and Paris in 2002.
He was also an acclaimed filmmaker, producing several documentaries and feature films throughout his career, tackling subjects such as the fashion industry, the war in Vietnam and the famous boxer Muhammed Ali.
Klein first ventured into film in 1956, when Italian director Federico Fellini, impressed by Klein’s raw images of New York street life, asked him to work on his 1957 film “Nights of Cabiria”, about a prostitute in Rome.
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