We need to put the thirst back in design professionals to be aware, appreciative and understand art. So my Thursday posts are going to be about the artists who inspired me. Now, to photography as an art form.

I don’t roam around with a camera and never did. I took pictures in spurts, for my books, for some assignments or on special occasions. Like people who take out their cameras for Christmas and birthdays. Each time, like them, probably, I feel it’s the first time and as if I would have to relearn the moves. Luckily, it comes pretty fast, like riding a bike. – William Klein

William Klein was born in New York city and lived most of his life between New York and Paris. I got introduced to his work, by a fellow designer friend, along with other documentary photographers old and new like Walker Evans, Gary Winogrand, Raghubir Singh and Diane Arbus.

But Klein felt special with his wry chronicles of environments and events with people as the focal point. He was also an iconoclast whose work challenged the notions of ‘good photography’. His collation of people in a single frame always had a story. It talked about diversity and community living with all its flaws. He overlaid this on the city that cast dramatic shadows and provided ‘perspectives’. This interaction between his subjects and their environment with the ‘punch in the face’ point of view created many of his photographs. This BBC documentary paints a better picture of his life and work.

There are a few relevant takeaways from his work and they are: get close and personal, do not get bound by conventions of good work and be purposeful when you shoot (do not mindlessly roam around with a camera).

William Klein also created legendary fashion photography work for the Vogue magazine with models on the streets of New York, Rome and Paris. He also made over 20 documentary films and four feature films. Read more about William Klein and see some of his work here.

Watch more videos on this renowned photographer below.