"I cannot live without books." -- Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, November 21, 2009

William Klein's "Rome + Klein"

Along with William Eggleston, (another) William Klein are my favorite photographers. Both men seem to know the importance of a good book design - and "Rome + Klein" is an exceptionally beautiful object to look at. But beyond that, this book really gives you the flavor of Rome circ. 1954.

Klein was called to Rome to work with Fellini. But due to film business and the way of the world, Klein had time on his hands, so he photographed Rome. And what we have here looks like the visual image of later-day Morrissey songs. Beautiful men and beautiful women doing what they do best - living the Rome life to the max and maybe beyond.

The layout of the book is so Klein. Double paged spreads of crowded street scenes, where your eyes goes from one inch to the other just absorbing the textures and expressions of Rome's citizens. It's very modern and clean. Even though the book was originally released in the 50's, it still seems fresh and chic.

So, yeah the book is iconic, but it also witty and incredibly charming. The book comes in two parts. The photographs and then another smaller volume with text by Klein plus quotations about Rome. I can't imagine anyone not wanting to have this book. I can't imagine life without "Rome + Klein." I can't imagine life without William Klein.

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