It started out as an assignment and become a legacy. In 1955, the young Magnum photographer Dennis Stock accompanied the rising star James Dean in various locations from US. The resulting photographs would prove to be the best and the most intimate portrait of this idol of the new youth. James Dean died a few months later in a car accident.
The photos were first published in Life Magazine in March 1955 and after that in a series of posters, advertising prints, books and other articles, especially the front picture “James Dean on Times Square” Dennis Stock was born and educated in New York City. While an assistant to Gjon Mili, he won first prize in Life magazine’s Young Photographers Contest for his Lewis Hine-inspired picture of the arrival of Eastern Germany refugees in New York’s harbor, and became associated with Magnum. Stock managed to evoke the spirit of America through his memorable portraits of James Dean, whom he met in Hollywood in 1955 and photographed there as well as on his family farm in Indiana, from 1957 to 1960, Stock made lively and intimate portraits of jazz and blues performers. His evocations of musicians such as Satchmo, Billie Holiday, Sydney Bechet, Gene Krupa and Duke Ellington won him first prize in the International Photography Competition in Poland and were published as a volume, Jazz Street.