PARIS (AFP) - American photographer William Klein, who made his mark with imagery of fashion and urban life, died in Paris on Saturday aged 96, his son Pierre Klein said in a statement Monday (Sept 12).
Klein, whose striking depictions of the restlessness and violence of city life helped revolutionise photography, died “peacefully”, the statement said.
Celebrated as one of the 20th century’s most influential artists, Klein also worked in film and fashion.
His death comes as a retrospective of his work draws to a close at New York’s International Center of Photography.
“According to his wishes, the funeral will be a very intimate event,” Pierre Klein said, although he added that there will be a later public memorial for his father.
Klein’s imagery was inspired by tabloid sensationalism, overturning established styles in street and fashion photography – including as one of the first to depict models outside studio backdrops.
His mostly black-and-white work plays with off-centre subjects and boosted contrast, with young men brandishing weapons at point-blank range or scowling faces seen in close-up, sometimes out of focus.
Born into a New York family of ultra-Orthodox Jews in 1926, William Klein grew to love Europe during his military service.
He became a painter after World War II but turned to photography after winning his first camera in a poker game.
Klein had lived in France since meeting his wife Jeanne Florin, and the couple remained together until she died in 2005.