top of page

"Illuminations::  Earning a Living with Dynamic Photography" by Raymond Klein. Hardcover book. 54 Pages. Publication date August 2020



Raymond J. Klein began his career in high school. His interest in photography bloomed after finding his dad's Kodak folding camera. At 14 years of age, one of his photographs was published in the local newspaper, as a subject of interest to the readers of that publication. He continued his education in a 4-year service career in the USAF in a photography unit. A series of photographs, after his service duty, produced for one of the nation's aircraft manufacturers, propelled him into an advertising photography situation. This activity continued until he retired. Continuing his photographic interest, by joining an art gallery and a photo club, he enjoyed sales of his artful photographs and winning important international contests in magazines. The book discusses techniques and the trials and tribulations facing a commercial photographer. He urges novice photographers to follow through with their own imaginative endeavors.



Book review by Mihir Shah:


"All the lights in the room were turned off! The machine was put into action with the attached tiny lights illuminated."

Rarely does a childhood passion evolve into a lifelong profession. This makes Klein's autobiographical narrative, depicted through prose and photography, all the more compelling. Carrying around his father's Kodak camera, twelve-year-old Klein got his "start" as the family's photographer, developing his own black and white film and having his work featured in publications like the Milwaukee Journal. At nineteen, on the verge of photography school, Klein received a draft notice from the military that could have sealed his career fate. However, through sheer luck, the U.S. Air Force was forming a photo unit that was tailor-made for him. With time, he became a color film specialist and received unique assignments like completing a portrait of the base commander.


The evolution of Klein's skillset is remarkable, particularly his knack for working with light in his photos. Over time, the author found himself front and center with national retailers and numerous iconic advertisements. While the prose clearly adds value, the photographs Klein includes in his work are utterly mesmerizing. His later chapters delve deeper into photographic technique, particularly in setup and lighting, revealing the thought process and setup behind the images that captured the minds of national audiences. Though Klein himself identifies the four pieces most impactful to him, others also stand out.


Photos like "Soft as a kitten's purr" juxtapose the all-green color of the rugs with a cat seated in the center of the image. making it impossible not to be captivated by it.


Klein's work demonstrates the power of a photograph, best exemplified by the fusion of colors on prominent alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson's album cover, which likely factored into thousands of copies being sold. Overall, Klein's photography captures moments that transcend time, providing opportunities for experts and non-specialists to immerse themselves in the scenes and enjoy the compilation.

Illuminations:: Earning a Living with Dynamic Photography

Excluding Sales Tax
    bottom of page