Magazine of art press and reviews from London
Monday, 8th September 2014.
The exhibition William Klein at the Michael Hoppen Gallery, London, was very interesting. Klein is an American-born French photographer and filmmaker, who mainly worked in the photojournalism and fashion photography. He was well known for his ironic approach and his wide use of unusual photographic techniques.
Following his Retrospective at Tate Modern last year, the Michael Hoppen Gallery organized an exhibition of large editioned works and unique painted contacts by William Klein.
The exhibition William Klein was a mélange of both the artist reportage and fashion prints. The exhibition was a tribute to the audacious photographic techniques that brought him to celebrity, an opus that challenged the conventions of his contemporaries.
William Klein began by documenting the streets of New York and Paris after World War II. He was never formally trained. However, he became one of the 20th century’s most important photographers and filmmakers. He preferred to instill a sense of experimentation into his work, breaking the rules of focal lengths, close-ups, light exposure and lens choice. He later worked for fashion magazines including Vogue, most famously.
Trained as a painter under Fernand Léger he achieved wide spread fame for his fashion images for Vogue and his photo essays of cities. Along with Robert Frank he is cited as one of the forefathers of street photography. He won the Prix Nadar in 1957 and since then has been published and exhibited worldwide.
The exhibition William Klein put on show a blend of documentary work and fashion prints. Klein re-invented the photographic document. His images, often blurred or out of focus, his high contrast prints, his use of high-grain film and wide angles shocked the established order of the photography world, earning him a reputation as an anti-photographer’s photographer.
By summarizing the irrationality of life, and challenging common social conventions, throughout the 1950’s and 60’s Klein created significant movement and debate within the fashion photography establishment.
With a career spanning over half a century, William Klein continues to live and work in Paris, France.
“William Klein” exhibition was at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London, from 10th July until 6th September 2014.