View Full Version : Discuss a Dennis Stock photograph.

John Bragg
04-27-2007, 06:48 AM

This is one of many taken by Dennis Stock of James Dean and it seems to have an eerie sense of doom and foreboding.... nonetheless it is a compelling image of vulnerability.

04-27-2007, 08:39 AM
Doom? Foreboding? Vulnerability? I guess it depends on how familiar one is with the widely disseminated biographical view of Dean. I see an actor that liked playing in front of a still camera as a counterpoint to how serious he was about working in front of a motion picture camera. In the context of the large body of still images of Dean, particularly the non-candid images, one gets an impression of a class clown. Climbing into a coffin and donning a questioning expression is consistant with that understanding.

As for the photograph itself, it's unremarkable to me. It's value stems entirely from its celebrity subject. As stock, it wouldn't make it off the light table otherwise. Well, maybe by now as a "vintage" image it might.

04-27-2007, 09:49 AM
Just had a look at Dennis Stocks' other photos, some great ones there. I especially like the "Boulevard of broken dreams" one of James Dean and the Miles Davis is superb.
No fancy words here, just an appreciation of another fine photographer.

04-27-2007, 10:02 AM
The Times Square image of Dean is a perfect example of Dean performing for the still camera. It's both beautiful and iconic, I agree.

05-01-2007, 02:13 AM
I watched a documentary on NG/Discovery on how this image came to be made. Apparently Dennis did not want to make it but James was messing around and asked for it to be taken. Says something about youth and spirit!

05-01-2007, 04:27 AM
I think it works because of the mixed messages it gives - ironic and irreverent youth, full of life and mocking death and it's trappings, and yet with an acknowledgment that even so he's a part of death and its trappings as much as anyone else. If he was unknown, it would have the same kind of power, in fact it may seem even more intriguing! - and that's all without the afterknowledge of the nearness of his death, which is adds another layer of meaning.