Kelly Klein’s latest book of photography is part fashion monograph, part personal photo diary. Though she’s been curating coffee table books for over two decades — with subjects as wide ranging as pools, horses and crosses — “Photographs by Kelly Klein,” her seventh book, out this week, is the first to focus on her own work. The result of three years spent combing her archives, the book weaves editorial shots of Kate Moss and Christy Turlington with stunning landscapes, travel photos and collages of snapshots from her personal life in the ’80s and ’90s.
“I always carried a camera, so I have hundreds of snapshots of friends and parties — Halloween night in New York, lunches, boat trips,” Klein tells T. One of the delights of compiling the book, she says, was stumbling upon old photos she’d forgotten she’d ever taken. For example: a snapshot of Henry Kissinger, eating breakfast with Jann Wenner and Calvin Klein. “We were in Tangier for Malcolm Forbes’s 70th birthday party,” she recalls. “I found that picture going through the archives, and I was like, ‘I had breakfast with Henry Kissinger? How fascinating must that have been!’”
The book also includes photographs from the late Anthony Radziwill’s Amagansett birthday lunch in 1994, with Lee Radziwill and John F. Kennedy Jr. — “one of those perfect Hamptons afternoons,” Klein recalls. From the same year, there are casual snapshots of Marc Jacobs, Bruce Weber and Anna Wintour at Klein’s own 40th birthday party at Indochine. “We gave everyone a snap camera, so everyone shot pictures of each other, and then they left the cameras in a box before they left,” Klein remembers. She captures more intimate moments with disarming ease, like Calvin napping aboard the yacht Midnight Saga, or Fran Lebowitz smoking on a plane to Venice. With so many memories, Klein says putting the book together was therapeutic. “I’m such a visual person,” she says. “My diary is in photographs.”