Undoubtedly one of the most significant photographers of the past 60 years, Klein briefly trained with Fernand Léger, who encouraged him to look outside the circles of art galleries, in search for more authenticity: he turned to the streets of Paris, experimented with Bauhaus principles, abstract and architectural themes and collaborating with Domus magazine.
His book “Life is Good and Good For You in New York” showed a roughness of the city: their visually arresting shots granted him the Nadar Prize. He developed the idea of a series of “ethnography” – photo essays, serving the purpose of unveiling people, places and life. His work for Vogue brought fashion photography on the street while he continued his photo books with Rome, Moscow and Tokyo. From 1965 he produced several films and documentaries, such as Mr. Freedom and Broadway by light.
He developed a unique aesthetic choosing blurred, high grain and high contrast images, using wide angle or close-ups, giving photography a new perspective and a renewed status among visual arts.
His rendition of the world he uncovered and brought to life has been celebrated in many solo exhibitions and awards, such as the Hasselblad prize, Commander of Arts and Letters in France in 1989, the Hugo Erfurth Preis, the Centenary Medal and Honorary Fellowship by The Royal Photographic Society in 1999, and Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award by Sony World Photography Awards in 2012.