William Klein

Zabriskie Gallery | Paris

Like memory, travel, or speaking a foreign language, black and white photographs impose a certain ironic distance on experience. In the work of William Klein, this inherent irony assumes the weight of style. During the mid ’50s Klein led a singular assault on the etiquette of street photography; armed with a wide-angle lens and an open flash, he produced a book of crowded, grainy, shifting, and/or distorted images of New York City, published under the uncommon title, Life is Good and Good for You in New York: Trance Witness Revels, 1956. The occasion was Klein’s first (and clearly combative) return to New York after six years as a youthful American in Paris: visits to other cities were to yield Rome, 1958, Moscow, 1964, and Tokyo, 1964, while a long-term contract with Vogue resulted in a parallel corpus of iconoclastic fashion photos over the same period. In the mid ’60s, though, Klein

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