Octogenarian William Klein has been there and done it all, the painter turned photographer turned film-maker turned graphic artist seems to have captured everyone that’s mattered in popular culture over the past five or six decades. Though what’s really impressive about this talented American artists work is not just the calibre of his subjects (from biopics on Mohammed Ali to snapping Prince William with his iPhone) but the variety of mediums and styles in which he’s successfully captured them. Despite having made documentaries on Vietnam and the Black Panthers and claiming to have zero interest in fashion his ground-breaking work for Vogue still remains an influence today as does his use of movement blur, high contrast printing, ultra-rapid film, wide angle lenses, cropping and page design. Not too mention his extreme tele-photo lens work way before the paparazzi realised the camera equivalent of a sniper rifle. All methods he’s been skilfully employing throughout his varied career and that looking back still manage to appear incredibly fresh and contemporary.
William Klein: ABC is a chronologically compiled picture book, put together by the Parisian dwelling Mr Klein himself and is in itself a complete work of accessible, modernist art. What impressed me most were the stills taken from 1969 film ‘Mr Freedom’ Klein’s absurdist parody on patriotism and politics featuring a plethora of Sixties Dolly-birds, Donald Pleasance and the coolest ‘mec’ ever Serge Gainsbourg, all having a hell of a time messing around in American football costumes.
Buy it HERE.