Kelly’s Charmed Life: A Study in Pictures


August 4, 1994. A beautiful summer’s day in Amagansett. John F. Kennedy Jr. and Ed Schlossberg are among a group gathered to celebrate the 35th birthday of Anthony Radziwill. Circulating among the revelers: Kelly Klein, a bright young woman with a passion for photography. She snaps a picture of the three men, at ease and, in a couple of cases, shirtless. Now, just over 20 years later, she shares it with the world in the pages of her new book.

Though Photographs By Kelly Klein (Rizzoli) is hardly Klein’s first book—she’s had a string of successes with Pools, Horses, Reflections, Underworld, and Cross—it may be her most revealing. She has led a high-profile life, from her early days as a junior show jumper to her marriage to Calvin Klein, and this collection gives a glimpse into the lives of the monumental people she’s known. These intimate moments, interspersed among her compelling landscapes, still lifes, and fashion shots, show a different side of famous personalities with carefully constructed public faces. Around Klein, they let down their guard, making it possible for her to capture the human moments in mythological lives.

The book is astutely curated: a picture from Monument Valley will be found laid out opposite an image of a girl in a backless dress. There’s a sense that though the styles are juxtaposed in a patchwork layout, a common theme flows throughout. The creative director behind the book, Sam Shahid, has a great eye for a balanced collection.

With a foreword by longtime pal Aerin Lauder (who can be spotted in the picture of a 2010 Halloween club crowd, disarmingly fresh-faced among the heavily made-up and disguised) and an afterword by Bob Colacello, Photographs By Kelly Klein (Rizzoli) is one of those rare beasts: a striking coffee table book that also reveals a vivid narrative of a moment in history by those who lived it best.