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William Klein (1928 - )

Broadway and 103 rd Street. New York (1955) William Klein

Related: art photography - fashion photography - American art - pop art


William Klein (born April 19, 1928, New York City) is a photographer and filmmaker who directed a number of feature films, including the 1966 film Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? (Qui Ítes-vous, Polly Maggoo?).

From 1955 to 1965 Klein worked for Vogue. he preferred to photograph his models out in the street or on location. he was not particularly interested in clothes or fashion, and used this opportunity to research the picture making process by introducing new techniques to fashion photography, including the use of wide-angle and long-focus lenses, long exposures combined with flash and multiple exposures -making fashion an area of innovation in photography. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Klein [Nov 2006]


William Klein is well known as an innovative fashion photographer (who began with Vogue in 1954) and a groundbreaking, often confrontational chronicler of urban life. He has also been a successful filmmaker, with numerous titles to his credit including the widely admired documentary "Muhammad Ali, The Greatest." Klein's photographs have been extensively exhibited at galleries in Europe and the United States since early in his career, and he has been featured in solo exhibitions at museums such as the Stedelijk in Amsterdam, the New York Museum of Modern Art, and the Centre Beaubourg in Paris. --http://www.jacobsonbest.com/william_klein_gun1.htm [Aug 2004]

Mr. Freedom (1970) - William Klein

This anti-American satire recounts the spectacularly unheroic exploits of "Mr. Freedom", personification of the American Superman sent into the world to liberate it from Communism. The combination of sex and politics seems irresistable to modern left-wing sophisticates. --Amos Vogel

Qui Ítes-vous, Polly Maggoo? (1966)


Directed by William Klein

Cast includes Fernando Arrabal, Peggy Moffitt, Philippe Noiret, Delphine Seyrig, Jeanloup Sieff and Roland Topor

Too bad this European cult film of the Sixties, written and directed by an American whose photo documentary reportage on New York, Rome, and Tokyo is legendary, is all but impossible to track down here in North America. After years of fruitless searching I finally attended two screenings at the Whitney Museum of Art in 1997. The main draw in this film for me was Grayson Hall, who portrays Miss Maxwell, Editor of Vogue magazine--a character so closely based on Director William Klein's former boss Diana Vreeland, it's amazing Vreeland didn't sue for libel. Grayson Hall was flown over specially from America to do this. Try to get the original French language version--she spoke French and her accent, and delivery, are priceless. (She referred to the experience acerbically as "Hell, honey!") The film's eponymous star Dorothy MacGowan was chosen at random from a crowd shot of Beatles girls welcoming the Fab Four at a New York airport. MacGowan stands at the center of a wildly gyrating scenario that satirizes pretty much everything in mid Sixties French society that is or isn't nailed down--politics, fashion, the media, the idealization of rural life and French traditions--taking frequent detours into fantasy sequences and even including some animated segments that must have helped inspire the animated interludes in the original Monty Python series. The score by Michel Legrand has some brilliant moments, particularly during the opening sequence featuring sheet metal fabricated fashions; the rest of the film never quite lives up to the promise of this inaugural tour de force.

Still, as a time capsule of Sixties effulgence, it's well worth tracking down. Let's hope somebody "rediscovers" it and brings it out on video, pronto! With the original letterbox ratio, bien sur. --Gothick via imdb.com

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