In the words of the Life magazine article that accompanied the first publication of these photographs, James Dean was ‘the most exciting actor to hit Hollywood since Marlon Brando’. But at the time they were taken, he was still poised on the brink of fame, a charismatic figure more isolated and alone than recognized and celebrated.
Dennis Stock and James Dean struck up a friendship in the winter of 1954-55, and the idea of a collaboration formed. It was Stock’s ambition to ‘reveal the environments that affected and shaped the unique character of James Byron Dean.’
Stock captures the essence of James Dean in a stunning series of images of the actor with family, friends and colleagues as well as alone, reading, sleeping, lost in thought, in the frozen fields of Indiana, on a rainy day in Times Square. It was an extraordinary collaboration of two people, Stock and Dean, in full command of their talents, to the extent that the project and their friendship have been dramatized in a feature film, itself called Life, directed by Anton Corbijn and starring Robert Pattinson as Stock and Dane DeHaan as Dean.
These iconic photographs taken at the dawn and high noon of a brief and brilliant career are presented with Dennis Stock’s original text and a later introduction by Joe Hyams, the author of the definitive biography of Dean.