Madonna and Anna Wintour on Steven Klein
Two long-standing collaborators share their love of this great photographer’s work
Even a casual admirer of contemporary photography will realise there’s something pretty special about our new Steven Klein book. This is the first comprehensive monograph of Klein’s photographs, whose subversive and powerful images have captivated viewers across the world for decades.
It contains era-defining images of stars such as Justin Timberlake, Kim Kardashian, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, as well as seminal fashion imagery, shot for the pages of i-D, W and Vogue among other titles.
Steven Klein. “Kim Wears Prada,” Image No. 15, Motel 6, Los Angeles, 2014. © Steven Klein. All Rights Reserved
It is also – and this is relatively unusual for so commercially successful a photographer – hugely cogent and consistent from an artistic point of view, while also seeming to offer glimpses into an almost limitless number of stories.
Take in the 282 images in this new book, and you leave with the impression of having borne witness to one, single, expansive and quite dark vision, as well as countless, incomplete narratives. The pictures leave an immediate impression, but also aren't easy to completely resolve. We can appreciate this, as idle admirers, but what qualities do Klein’s commissioning editors and collaborators admire? Remarkably similar ones, as it turns out.
“Great fashion photography not only understands the clothes and makes them look beautiful and of-the-moment,” Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour told New York magazine in 2004, “but it also brings a twist that catches the eye and captures the imagination. In the case of Steven Klein, you give him a dress, and he will give you a girl in a dress with a robot in a garden. It’s clever, conceptual, and ultimately lyrical.” Klein’s long standing collaborator, Madonna, has been, if anything, more effusive.
Steven Klein. Suburbia #11, Montclair, NJ, 2007. © Steven Klein. All Rights Reserved
“Beautiful and horrifying. Bloody and Magical. Mysterious and provocative. Ironic and repulsive. Violent and mischievous. Mesmerizing and sexually confrontational. Steven always pushes the envelope and invites the viewer to look deeper. I am in awe of Steven’s photography,” she said, with reference to their creative relationship. “I feel privileged and grateful to have had the chance to work with him over the past two decades. He is a true artist. An artist who is here to disturb the peace!♥️”
To experience a little more of those disturbances, order a copy of Steven Klein here.