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William Klein quotes


William Klein quotes
The New York book was a visual diary and it was also kind of personal newspaper. I wanted it to look like the news. I didn't relate to European photography. It was too poetic and anecdotal for me.... The kinetic quality of New York, the kids, dirt, madness --- I tried to find a photographic style that would come close to it. So I would be grainy and contrasted and black. I'd crop, blur, play with the negatives. I didn't see clean technique being right for New York. I could imagine my pictures lying in the gutter like the New York Daily News.
Be yourself. I much prefer seeing something, even it is clumsy, that doesn't look like somebody else's work.
I came from the outside, the rules of photography didn't interest me... there were things you could do with a camera that you couldn't do with any other medium... grain, contrast, blur, cock-eyed framing, eliminating or exaggerating grey tones and so on. I thought it would be good to show what's possible, to say that this is as valid of a way of using the camera as conventional approaches.
Sometimes, I'd take shots without aiming, just to see what happened. I'd rush into crowds --- bang! bang! ... It must be close to what a fighter feels after jabbing and circling and getting hit, when suddenly there's an opening, and bang! Right on the button. It's a fantastic feeling.
I have always done the opposite of what I was trained to do... Having little technical background, I became a photographer. Adopting a machine, I do my utmost to make it malfunction. For me, to make a photograph is to make an anti-photograph.
I used the wide-angle lens as a normal lens. I had no philosophy about it. When I looked in the viewfinder and realized I could see all the contradictions and confusion that was there with the wide-angle --- that was what was great.
I think there are two kinds of photography - Jewish photography and goyish photography. If you look at modern photography, you will find, on the one hand the Weegees, the Diane Arbuses, the Robert Franks - funky photographs. And then you have the people who go out in the woods. Ansel Adams, Weston. It's like black and white jazz.
If you look carefully at life, you see blur. Shake your hand. Blur is part of life.
I've noticed that in general the Paris of photographers... was romantic, foggy and above all, ethnically homogeneous. But for me, Paris was, as much as and perhaps more than New York, a melting pot. A cosmopolitan city, multicultural and totally multiethnic, whatever Le Pen thinks.
I spent six months in New York at that time (1954) and thought I had a book. So I went to publishers here, in New York, and got nowhere. Most of the people who looked at the photographs looked at the work and said "What kind of book is this? You make New York look like a slum." I said, "Yeah, New York is a slum." "What kind of New York are you showing me, everything black and awful?" I said, "No, you live on Fifth Avenue and your office is on Madison. You've never been to the Bronx, you've never been to Queens or Flatbush. This is the real New York."
I was very consciously trying to do the opposite of what Cartier-Bresson was doing. He did pictures without intervening. He was like the invisible camera. I wanted to be visible in the biggest way possible. (On his photography in the early 1950s)
Why must a photograph be a mirror?




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