William Klein


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

– William Klein

William Klein has been described as an outsider, a rebel and a true original. He’s also one of the most influential photographers of all time.

Never afraid to go against the mainstream, Klein’s photographs can be distorted and out of focus. The pictures he took in New York in the 1950s draw attention to the seedier parts of the city, which people found repugnant or preferred to hide.

Defying the rule book, he embraces accidents, cramming multiple points of interest into the frame. His photographs are full of life, with huge amounts going on at once.

© William Klein
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© William Klein
© William Klein
© William Klein
© William Klein

I have always done the opposite of what I was trained to do… having little technical background, I become a photographer. Adopting a machine, I do my utmost to make it malfunction. For me, to make a photograph was to make an anti-photograph.

– William Klein

Klein doesn’t care about expensive photographic equipment as he is more concerned with getting out into the world and producing images. Shooting with an unusually wide angle lens, he involves the viewer, while getting up close and personal with people, interacting with them even at the point of pressing the shutter.

Even now, aged 89, Klein makes his own rules while continuing to make art and inspiring a new generation of photographers.

Recommended Reading

William Klein: Life is Good & Good for You in New York


William Klein’s groundbreaking first book published in 1956. This version is super affordable as it’s a reprint of the original. Highly recommended.

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