Remembering William Klein
Another one of the greats, gone — But he had one hell of a run.
It always stings when an artist dies.
I’m weirdly sentimental, and the death of an artist I admire always gets me. I rarely think about dying, but I frequently wonder what the world will be like when my favorite artists die. I’m sure some of you can identify with this feeling. It probably has to do with our mortality and the realization that we only get so much time to make a mark while we’re here. The world might feel empty when these legends are gone! It feels good knowing they’re out there, even in old age — living, being, creating.
William Klein was one of the giants of photography and someone that many of us admired and appreciated. I never met him, but I certainly respected him. When I heard that he had passed away — at the ripe old age of 96 — I felt that twinge of melancholy that strikes when the great ones go. And then I woke up today and saw that Jean-Luc Godard had left us too. Oof! C’est la vie.
I spent last night Googling Klein because I don’t know nearly as much about him as I should. As usual, I bookmarked a bunch of stuff to read and watch. I thought you would appreciate seeing some of these things, so I put them together here. (I told you this newsletter would be an experiment — thanks for bearing with me.) Please share this post with photography friends, and if there’s a Klein link you think I should see, send it my way. Thanks, as always, for looking. Remember, you can reply to this email to tell me what you think. Enjoy!
I like reading obituaries because they’re a fantastic way to learn about someone. A person’s background and upbringing shape who they become and how they see the world. And obituaries narrativize the past, which is essential. The major outlets covered Klein’s death. Here are the obits from The New York Times, NPR, The Washington Post, and The Guardian. It’s nice to see a photographer getting this kind of attention from the mainstream media.
This one’s a terrific little video — Klein talked to the Tate Modern from his Paris studio on the occasion of a joint exhibition with Daido Moriyama in 2012.
What a picture! Photographer Aaron Schuman interviewed Klein for Aperture in 2015. Two photographers talking shop. What’s not to love?
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Paulina del Paso interviewed Klein at the Walker Art Center in 2009 as part of its Dialogue & Film Retrospectives series. Long watch, but worth your time.
Finally, Vince Aletti is one of our great photography writers. He looks back at Klein’s work in The New Yorker on the occasion of Klein’s retrospective at the ICP earlier this year. That show has been extended through September 15, so if you’re in NYC, see it while you can!