American photographer William Klein has died at 96 years old. Klein’s work was considered innovative and his portraiture style had a great influence on fashion and street photography in the latter part of the 20th century.
Klein died Saturday in Paris, his son, Pierre Klein, said in a statement. His death came during the last few days of a major retrospective show at the International Center of Photography in New York, which was scheduled to close Monday.
Klein was born in 1926 in New York City. He joined the army in 1946 and won his first camera in a game of poker while stationed in Germany. Two years later he moved to Paris to study abstract painting and sculpture at the Sorbonne, and it was there that he met and studied with Fernand Léger.
By the 1950s Klein had turned towards photography after meeting Alexander Liberman, the artistic director at Vogue. So began a 10-year collaboration with the magazine.
In 1956 Klein published his at-the-time, groundbreaking photo diary of New York City, titled “Life is Good & Good For You in New York.” The book propelled Klein as a major artistic force and was praised for his stylised use of wide angles, contrasts in composition, and unusual framing, elements that are intrinsic in today’s street photography.
Klein was also noted as a filmmaker and produced several documentary and feature films. He covered topics as diverse as the fashion industry to the Vietnam conflict and is probably most renowned for his feature film “Muhammad Ali, The Greatest” released in 1969.
[Via CNBC News]