John Hertz: Klein is Big, Door is Dear

By John Hertz: Jay Kay Klein, the photographer of science fiction, has donated his photographs to the Eaton Collection. Shipments are arriving. It is best to arrange such things while one is alive.

Klein shot all of us – sounds tempting, doesn’t it? – fans and pros. He was there, usually with several cameras. In monochrome, color, stereo, he took a hundred thousand photos.

The Eaton Collection, on the Riverside campus of the University of California, is the world’s largest publicly accessible holding of s-f, with books, prozines, fanzines, ephemera. Terry Carr’s, Rick Sneary’s, and Bruce Pelz’ collections made Eaton the largest in fanzines. The Klein photos are a perfect match, and in their own right an element – I use the word deliberately.

Since seven years were needed for a preliminary index of the Pelz collection, Eaton librarians delighted in finding Klein’s photos carefully identified. Perhaps I may be allowed to say that when I talked with him by phone about it recently he chortled. It had not been by the power of his mind alone that he laid hands on pictures as needed.

How good are they?

Look at the Photo Yearbook in the 75th Anniversary issue of Analog (January-February 2005). The photos are Klein’s. See in particular his portraits of Campbell, Heinlein, Moore.

He’s been as valuable a reporting photographer as a portraitist. Look at the Asimov Appreciation in the June 1992 Locus. He can write, too. He recounted the memorial gathering, then gave the closing reminiscence, after Hartwell, Gunn, de Camp. Asimov “loved to have someone top him if possible. Seldom possible.”

Photography is an extraordinary combination of an artist’s vision and of fact. Of this Jay Kay Klein has been illustrative.

No one can top an act like that, but I promised to say something about Selina Phanara’s door. It arrived safely, was placed duly, and is enjoyed muchly.

Eaton is eager to make its resources available. It has a Website and a copying service. Visits in person are welcome.

Two Eaton archivists studying a Klein shipment.

Selina Phanara's door in place.

6 thoughts on “John Hertz: Klein is Big, Door is Dear

  1. I flatter myself in thinking I may be the only person in fandom that Jay Kay Klein never bothered to photograph. I can remember being told by him to get out of the way a couple of times, though.

  2. Melissa Conway, Eaton curator & head of Special Collections, called me months back and said, “Have you heard of Jay Kay Klein?”
    I laughed. “Only the best photog we’ve ever had.”
    “So he’s good. He says–”
    “He’s the best ever. Grab what he offers and anoint his feet with oil.”
    “Wouldn’t that be secual harrassment?”
    “Who cares?”
    Yes, though I heard his wife is very ill now, when at Eaton 2 weeks ago. Sad.

  3. This is excellent news! I’ve been wondering off and on the last few years if Klein’s collection was being taken care of and would wind up in good hands. I’m very glad he made this choice and that the Eaton Collection has taken them in.

  4. I didn’t even get a “get out of the way.” Actually, he and I never met, so I guess I don’t exist.

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