Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dennis Stock, James Dean, Anton Corbijn, Ron Brownson and me

Dennis Stock - James Dean, Times Square, 1955

One of the most well known and iconic images in photography is that of James Dean, with overcoat, hunched, and walking in the rain in New York's Times Square. Sadly, I doubt that many people would know that the picture was made by photographer Dennis Stock (1928 - 2010). Stock, a member of Magnum Photos, undertook a series of photos of the young star in Hollywood, Dean's hometown in Indiana and in New York City. He shot the photograph of Dean in Times Square in 1955 which was the year Dean died.

Reporting in today's online edition of the BJP: So began the brief and at times fraught relationship between Dean and the photographer as he tried to convince the actor to make a photo essay for Life. The ups and downs of their relationship lie at the heart of a new film, Life, directed by Anton Corbijn, and starring Dane DeHaan and Robert Pattinson... Loosely structured around Stock and Dean’s travels over a two-week period in 1955, the film faithfully plays out the making of Stock’s famous images – the Times Square photographs, images of Dean at his family’s farm, and of the actor sitting in a barber’s chair. 
You can read the full story on the BJP site HERE.

My encounter with Dennis Stock occurred in July 1996. Auckland Art Gallery curator Ron Brownson brought Dennis out to the house that I then owned at Auckland's Karekare Beach, known for where Jane Campion's 1993 movie The Piano was shot. The house is in the valley that leads to the beach and it sits surrounded by bush at the top of 104 near vertical steps. Dennis had recently undergone major surgery and I felt the climb to the house was somewhat of and ordeal for him. I remember a pleasant day where we talked and later wandered to the beach and walked in the sand dunes.

Harvey Benge - Dennis Stock and Ron Brownson, July 1996

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