02 April 2013

Dennis Stock at the Milk

"James Dean in Times Square" Dennis Stock (1955)

Tonight I went to an opening of an exhibit of Dennis Stock photographs at Milk Gallery. A photojournalist, Magnum member, and author of more than 24 books, Stock captured a variety of people from screen stars Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe to jazz greats Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday to non-celebrity bikers and hippies. He also took some hilarious images on the set of Planet of the Apes

Yet he is perhaps best known for a series of photos of James Dean including the iconic shot of Dean walking through Times Square in the rain. Stock first met Dean at a Hollywood party in January, 1955. The two hit it off and after seeing a screening of his first film, East of Eden, Stock realized there was something special about Dean and convinced Life Magazine to finance a story on the journey of a young actor. Over the course of three months the two visited Dean's hometown in Indiana and spent time in New York before returning to Los Angeles. Later that year Dean would be dead at the age of 24. Many of these photographs are included in the exhibit and are both stunning and poignant.

The opening was quite the scene (I'm not used to having to queue outside to see art), with a mix of photography fans and people who were obviously there for the free booze and to be seen. But the photos were worth braving the crowds.

The exhibit is at the Milk Gallery through April 17. For more information, visit here.

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