Melvin Sokolsky (August 29) and William Klein (September 10) passed away within weeks of each other this year; sadly, these events were met with a cacophony of crickets.  That’s a shame, because in addition to being two of the greatest fashion photographers of the 1960’s and ’70’s, each man also directed some interesting films.  And while Sokolsky generally stuck to his area of expertise, Klein branched out to establish a strong body of socially oriented documentary projects.

            As a devotee of popular imagery, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the best of their work.  Plainly, it’s amazing!  Sokolsky and Klein were tremendous artists who made radical impressions during a time when innovation in their field was not just encouraged, it was demanded.

From Sokolsky’s “Bubble” series, 1963…
A still from Klein’s 1966 feature film, ‘Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?’  Noted model Peggy Moffitt appears on the left

An amusing fact: Sokolsky is also the father of noted cinematographer Bing Sokolsky, ASC.

           I read a great deal and am reasonably well-informed. Nonetheless, I discovered their passing by accident, which, as if we needed more reason to despise them, says something discouraging about the state of our mainstream media.  Sokolsky and Klein should’ve been lionized for what they created.  Instead, they disappeared almost without a trace.

            Seek out their work and pour through their rich legacy.  You’ll quickly notice how profoundly they continue to influence the ways in which we imagine the stylish, exciting days during which they flourished.



  1. It’s very sad. I went to the new William Klein exhibit at ICP just a few weeks before he passed. Inspirational!

  2. They were both inventive and conceptual, true artists. Still inspiring and refreshing. They worked at time, in retrospect, that seems to me like the beginning — the boiling point of media and celebrity culture. Perhaps this is why the work still resonates.

    It’s too bad the world today is too distracted to notice.

  3. I had the pleasure of working with Melvin Sokolsky on a project almost 30 years ago with Dolly Parton. I read a little about him before hand and he was everything and more than I expected. He was also great to hang out and have a meal and cocktails with after a day’s shoot. It was an educating experience and one of those shoots where nature throws a little bit of everything at you and the crew really has to come together to be successful.
    It’s a shame that these two did not receive more recognition at the end of this post of the journey.
    Thanks for sharing.

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