Gun 1, New York, 1955. Contact sheet painted in 2010.
Numbered photographic print of William Klein. 1000 numbered copies. Size 18 x 24 cm.
Faithful to his visual art practice, William Klein readily returned his own contact sheets. In fact, this print brings together two very distinct periods: the 1950s and 2000s. In 1954, William Klein returned to New York after eight years in Paris and decided to document his native city. “I had the idea of doing a photographic journal of my return, to see how being an ex-New Yorker turned Parisian had changed my way of seeing the city. I approached New York like a fake anthropologist, treating New Yorkers like Zulus…the rawest snapshot, the zero degree of photography.”
Two boys on Upper Broadway pose for Klein. One, his face screwed up like a gangster, points his gun to the camera. The other holds his companion by the arm, watchful. This initial series was taken with a 35 mm camera and ultra-fast film, creating a slightly blurred, grainy image, with strong contrast. Judged too ‘raw’ to be printed in Vogue, in 1956 these pictures were published by Editions de Seuil in one of the artist’s most influential books, Life is Good & Good for you in New York.
Starting in the 1990s, William Klein brought fresh eyes to his previous photos by recomposing them into new visual narratives. His painted contact series revealed a new story, bringing together shots using symbols and strong colours. In so doing, William Klein turned upside down the worlds of photography, graphic design, painting and cinema.
Printed by the Processus laboratory on Hahnemühle art paper, Photo Rag Baryta 315g.
Print sold inside Wombat No. 33 included.