Steven Klein (American, b.1965) is a celebrated American photographer who won acclaim for his photography style, which has been described as eclectic, conceptual, sexual, and subversive. Klein’s love for photography began in 1975 at the age of 10, when he built a dark room in his parents’ basement. He began to take tons of photos of a fashionable sixth grader he deemed his muse. He credits her for introducing him to the world of fashion. After high school, Klein studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design. After graduating in 1985, he decided to focus full time on photography. Klein has said that the artists Pablo Picasso and Francis Bacon have greatly influenced his photography style.

His first photography job out of school was shooting a Christian Dior mascara ad campaign in Paris. Klein worked on a wide variety of advertising campaigns for high-end clients like Calvin Klein and Dolce & Gabbana. In 1994, he photographed his first Vogue portfolio titled Nude Study with models Jaime Rishar, Shalom Harlow, and Nadja Auermann. Klein’s first solo photography exhibit, Steven Klein, took place in 1997 at the Staley-Wise Gallery in New York City.

One of Klein’s most famous pictorials ran in the July 1999 issue of W magazine and featured Brad Pitt portraying his character from the movie Fight Club. His shots of David Beckham for Arena Homme Plus in 2000 are the first to position the soccer player as a fashion icon. His shoot for the same magazine in 2001 featuring a bloodied, tough-looking Justin Timberlake turned the singer’s image from "boy band singer" into "leading man" overnight. Klein went on to shoot one of Alexander McQueen’s first ad campaigns in 2002. Later that year, the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland exhibited a retrospective of his work up to that point. In 2003, Soho’s Deitch Projects in New York City debuted X-STaTCI PRO=CeSS, a collection of photos that Klein collaborated on with Madonna. Madonna later used those images on her Re-Invention tour. In 2005, W magazine released the infamous photo shoot featuring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as a retro, mid-century married couple mired as marital distress. The photos, meant to promote the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith, were intimate and provocative and lead to intense speculation about the actor’s personal relationship. More recently, Klein shot the video for Lady Gaga’s "Alejandro" in 2010 and ad campaigns featuring Rihanna in 2011. Always in demand by today’s hottest and most influential tastemakers, Klein continues to inspire, challenge, and provoke the senses with his work.

Timeline

1962
Born in Rhode Island,
Lives and works in New York, NY

Exhibitions

2009
Extreme Beauty in Vogue, Palazza della Ragione, Milan, Italy
Weird Beauty, International Center of Photography, New York, USA
2008
POL. aR., Oid Vered Gallery, New York, USA
Fashion in the Mirror, The Photographers' Gallery, London, England
2007
Steven Klein, Vered Contemporary, New York, USA
Secret Ceremony, Galleria Cardi, Milan, Italy
Face of Fashion, National Portrait Gallery, London, England
2006
Fashion Portraits, Vered Contemporary, East Hampton, USA (solo)
2005
Case Study #13, Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, USA (solo)
X-STaTIC PRO=CeSS (Madonna), Brancolini Grimaldi, Florence, Italy; Camera Work, Berlin; NRW Forum Kultur Und Wirtschaft, Düsseldorf; Schirmer Mosel, Munich, Germany; Deitch Projects, New York, USA (solo)
Superstars: From Warhol to Madonna, Kunsthallewein, Vienna, Austria
Passionate Image: The Body in Advertising, Steven Kasher Gallery, New York; LIGHTBOX Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
From the Source, Fashion Photographs, Corkin Shopland Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2004
Fashion Passion: One Hundred Years of Fashion, OCA Pavillion Museum, Sao Paolo, Brazil
The New Gothic: Art for the Tortured Soul, Cokkie Snoei Gallery, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2003
Nueva Tokyo Film Festival LaForet Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
AMFAR Portfolio, Cheim & Read, New York, USA
2002
The Fourth Sex, Stazione Leopoida, Florence, Italy
Copy, Ruth Horowitz, New York, USA
The Holiday Show, Staley-Wise, New York, USA
JT Leroy, Deitch Projects, New York, USA (solo)
Steven Klein American Beauty, Musée de l’Élysée, Lausanne, Switzerland (solo)
2001
a dog and pony show, Staley-Wise, New York, USA
2000
A Century of Fashion 1900 - 2000, Staley-Wise, New York, USA
W/The Show, Robert Miller Gallery, New York, USA
1999
Visionaire 27 Movement, Visionaire Gallery, New York, USA
Hillside Forum, Hillside Terrace F Tower, 18-8, Sarugakucho, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1998
Photographs, Carla Sozzani Gallery, Milan, Italy (solo)
Addressing the Century: 100 Years of Art and Fashion, London, England
International Festival of Fashion Photography, New York, USA
H20 Fashion Exhibition, Howard Greenberg Gallery & H20 Company, Japan
1997
International Festival of Fashion Photography, Soeul, Korea
I Paparazzi, Robert Miller Gallery, New York, USA
Summer Pleasure, Staley-Wise, New York, USA
Photographers' Gallery, London, England
Best of Fashion Photography, Festival International de la Photo de Mode, New York, USA
Photographs, Quartier 206, Berlin, Germany (solo)
Photographs, Staley-Wise, New York, USA (solo)
1996
The Crossing: Fashion Photography in the 90's, Parco Gallery, Nagoya, Japan
1995
Color of Fashion, Staley-Wise, New York, USA
1994
A Positive View, Saatchi Gallery, London, England
Fashion: Evolution / Revolution, FotoFest, Fifth International,Festival of Photography, Houston, USA