History of Photography

History of Photography

A World History of Photography

The Story Behind the Pictures 1827-1991

Photographers' Dictionary






1   Nicephore Niepce. View from the Study Window, 1827

2   Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre. Boulevard du Temple, 1838

3   Eugene Durieu/Eugene Delacroix. Nude from Behind, ca. 1853

4   Duchenne de Boulogne. Contractions musculaires, 1856

5   Auguste Rosalie Bisson. The Ascent of Mont Blanc, 1862

6   Nadar. Sarah Bernhardt, ca. 1864

7   Francois Aubert. Emperor Maximilian's Shirt, 1867

8   Andre Adolphe Eugene Disderi. Dead Communards, 1871

9   Maurice Guibert. Toulouse-Lautrec in His Studio, ca. 1894

10 Max Priester/Willy Wilcke. Bismarck on his Deathbed, 1898

11 Heinrich Zille. The Wood Gatherers, 1898

12 Alfred Stieglitz. The Steerage, 1907

13 Lewis Hine. Girl Worker in a Carolina Cotton Mill, 1908

14 August Sander. Young Farmers, 1914

15 Paul Strand. Blind Woman, 1916

16 Man Ray. Noire et blanche, 1926

17 Andre Kertesz. Meudon, 1928

18 Robert Capa. Spanish Loyalist, 1936

19 Dorothea Lange. Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936

20 Horst P. Horst. Mainbocher Corset, 1939

21 Henri Cartier-Bresson. Germany, 1945

22 Richard Petersen. View from the Dresden City Hall Tower, 1945

23 Robert Doisneau. The Kiss in Front of City Hall, 1950

24 Dennis Stock. James Dean on Times Square, 1955

25 Bert Stern. Marilyn's Last Sitting, 1962

26 Gerard Malanga. Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground, 1966

27 Helmut Newton. They're Coming!, 1981

28 Sandy Skoglund. Revenge of the Goldfish, 1981

29 Robert Mapplethorpe. Lisa Lyon, 1982

30 Joel-Peter Witkin. Un Santo Oscuro, 1987

31 Sebastiao Salgado. Kuwait, 1991


see also:

Stock Dennis

Chapter 24



Dennis Stock


James Dean on Times Square


It started out as an assignment - and became a legacy. Myth in Early in 1955, the young Magnum photographer Dennis the Early Stock accompanied the rising screen star James Dean Morning to Fairmont, Indiana, and New York. The resulting photographs would prove to be the best and most intimate portrait this idol of the new youth, who was to die only a few months later in an automobile accident.


The setting is no accident, even if the weather is. But what would this picture be without the rain? It forces the bare-headed protagonist into a slight slouch, makes him pull his head into his collar. But that's what tall men do anyway. Five feet eight stands written on his passport - in other words, not particularly tall. And it may well be that his height at times was as much of a problem for him as his short-sightedness. In private life he had to wear glasses - and he needed them on the stage, too. But perhaps it was just this blurred perception of his environment that threw him back on himself and led to the oft-described intensity of his acting. New York. Times Square. For a few moments Broadway becomes his theater. But in reality, every place is a theater to him - a stage where in fact he doesn't act, but lives out his life, whether before an audience, or in front of the film camera. The boundary between reality and dream disappears; there is no need for him to take on another form as an actor, but rather to heighten the feelings, dreams, fears, neuroses, and phobias that already reside in him. Even now, at this moment, he is private and public at the same moment. It is not merely by chance that he is making his way across Times Square: what he is now doing for the camera is something that he has already done a thousand times before. And it's not an accident that the Chesterfield happens to be hanging from the corner of his mouth. Nonetheless, he smokes in private, too. He is acting, yes - but he is acting himself. He does it for Life; he does it for the photographers; he does it for the fame and image whose structure he cannot leave to chance.

Of course he's vain. Even in photographs he sometimes gazes into the mirror, even if it is only his reflection in a frozen puddle. This time, it's a rain-slicked street. It's really quite skillful how Dennis Stock takes advant-age of the puddle to double the form of his hero, as it were. In reality he should disappear between the skyscrapers of New York. Instead, the canyon of buildings sinks backward into the mist, and he, in spite of his rather short stature, becomes taller. A giant with drawn shoulders - but that's the way he sees himself anyway. And how the photographer man-ages to convey this self-consciousness graphically is a small stroke of genius. Henri Cartier-Bresson used to look at his pictures upside down to check just how compelling they were. In this case, our picture transfers the attention of the observer from the person to the mirror image. Blurred, jittery, frayed at the edges - an image that easily becomes a metaphor for the high-strung, impatient, restless life of our hero - for his rebellious character, for his ambivalence - which concentrates all the contradictions of a satiated age into an apotheosis. "I don't know who I am," he had claimed even as a seventeen-year-old high-school student. But that doesn't matter.

Dennis Stock
James Dean in Times Square, New York, 1955


With the instincts of a wild animal


Now he is twenty-four and approaching the zenith of his career - an observation that sounds strange when one realizes that he will not reach his twenty-fifth birthday. He has performed on stage and has begun to take up small roles in early television. But it is the cinema that will carry him to fame - this comparatively young, popular art form that, as he well knows, guarantees a kind of immortality even better than that of the stage. He has already made one film, and two more will follow in the coming months. His Rebel Without a Cause will moreover premier in the very theater, the Astor, that we see to the left at the back of the picture. Not far from here, on 68th Street West, he has a modest apartment, and Lee Strasberg's legendary Actors Studio is only a few steps away from Times Square. He had been accepted there in 1952 - certainly the most import-ant confirmation of his talent until he won the favor of the great public. Perhaps Times Square was now no longer all that it had once been. Nonetheless, as Dennis Stock relates, before James Dean departed for Hollywood, the Square was his home where he moved about with all the confidence of an animal in its own territory. He could not tolerate staying inside his small apartment, and instead spent the time outdoors, pacing the streets from dusk to the early morning hours.

Dennis Stock
James Dean in diner, New York, 1954


Anything can become a myth, as Roland Barthes once pointed out. The myth is not primarily an object, a term, or an idea, but a message. The bourgeois age is the era of technical pictures: photography, movies, and television are the vehicles of modern myths. Moving images create them, static pictures lend them stability. James Dean is one of the great myths produced by America in the twentieth century - a genius who touched the nerve of his times, a rebel who made youthful rebellion into the basso profundo of his artistic creativity, and who will always retain his credibility because he was saved from growing old. "Live fast", he is said to have quoted from Nick Ray's Knock on Any Door, "die young, and leave a good-looking corpse." Cryptic-sounding advice, but it largely reflects how he directed his own life, in which nothing was left to chance, for his life was a self-dramatization, even if the distance between being and seeming was not especially great. According to Dean's biographer David Dalton, who is one of those most familiar with the actor's legend, the young actor identified totally with his characters.

Dennis Stock
James Dean in diner, New York, 1954


The craving for pictures in the glossies and fan magazines


Dean is always said to have disliked photographs. But this can at most be only partially true. In any case, his attitude toward the medium was ambivalent, and for a while he in fact took photography lessons from the photographer Roy Schatt. There are pictures showing him with a Leica or Rolleiflex - without, however, anything worthy of notice having come out of his camera. What is more important was and remains his relation to-ward his own image. Schatt related how the two of them were making portraits when James Dean suddenly said that he wanted to try some-thing. He turned his head slightly to the left and looked downwards. Schatt asked himself what on earth he was up to, and the star replied: "Can't you see? I'm Michelangelo's David." Dean certainly had nothing against being photographed, at least when it flattered his ego - or served his career. Star photos are as much a part of Hollywood as the star is to the film itself, even if the great age of glamour photography, characterized by warm spotlights and retouching, was already over. Now instead there were photojournalists and press photographers, who took over the job and served the craving for images in the illustrated journals or fan magazines. In Dean's case, these were names like Roy Schatt, Sanford Roth, and Dennis Stock. In other words there remained a great deal of Dean memorabilia in the form of photographs. But when David Dalton writes that our image of Dean is formed of many elements, it does not mean that there are not a few photographs standing out from the rest that have especially defined our sense of Dean.

Dennis Stock
James Dean, Indiana, at his old school Fairmont High, 1955


Dennis Stock and James Dean had met in Hollywood under the auspices of Nicholas Ray, who was planning to cast Dean as the lead in his next film, Rebel Without a Cause. Elia Kazan's East of Eden was already finished, but had not yet appeared in the theaters. In other words, James Dean was still a completely unknown entity - at least for those who had not had a chance to experience him on the New York stage. The names of Marlon Brando and Elvis Presley signified the idols of a young, increasingly self-confident post-war generation that no longer accepted their youth as a synonym for immaturity, but rather as a valid state of being. In the end, however, it would be Dean who would lend the teenage cult its definitive face, even if at age twenty-three, he was no longer a teen himself. As Dalton points out, Dean bequeathed a new body language to the youth of the times. Dean was a Baudelairean hero in whom the contradictions of youth - the impatience, aggression linked with vulnerability, the arrogance, nervous sensibility, shyness - were creditably lifted up to view. Stock himself was in his mid twenties, a young photographer who had studied with Berenice Abbott and Gjon Mili. Since 1951 he was a member of the Magnum group - and of course always on the lookout for a good story. "Jimmy," as the photographer later came to call him, invited Stock to a preview of East of Eden. At the time he was not familiar with Dean's work, but the scene in the bean field convinced the photographer that the young man would become a star. Stock determined that he wanted to do something together with Dean, so he proposed an essay on Dean to Life. In February 1955, the pair set out for Fairmont, and later New York, where, among other photographs, James Dean. New York City. Times Square was made.

Dennis Stock
James Dean


The ideal of happily lived materialism


Fairmont, Indiana. Dean biographers have consistently pointed out that this is the true East of Eden. A flat piece of earth, fields as far as the eye can see - and people whose Puritanism forms virtually the opposite pole to the American ideal of happily lived materialism. Here, or more precisely in the small town of Marion, James Byron Dean was born on 8 February 1931 - 'Byron' being a hint from his mother who, as all mothers, had great expectations for her son, and apparently wanted to underline this by a reference to the great poet. Jimmy Dean spent his early years in Marion, and later the family moved to Fairmont where, after the early and traumatic death of his mother, he grew up with his Uncle Marcus and Aunt Ortense. The pair operated a small farm: "Winslow Farm."

Dennis Stock
James Dean,on his uncle's farm, Fairmont, Indiana, 1955


It was here that Stock and Dean returned in 1955. The little cabin on Back Creek represented the country roots, so to speak, of the demi-god James Dean. His simple - extremely simple - background is significant; it offers hope, and at the same time belongs as much as his early, fateful death to the components of the myth, to the process of legend-making. Stock and Dean visited the local cemetery where an ancestor named Cal Dean lay buried. For his photographer, the rising star sat down again at his school desk. He wandered around Fairmont, hands in his pockets, Chesterfield in the corner of his mouth. He looked at himself absentmindedly in a frozen puddle - or tested out a coffin at the undertaker's, just to try it out. Dean's longing for death has since become the object of a great deal of speculation. In any case, Stock found a valid metaphor for his hero's necrophilic tendencies by translating Dean's isolation into pictorial form: James Dean in the midst of cows; with a dog; with a pig. The affinity for animals that the star took as a matter course can in fact be read as a metaphor for loneliness.

Dennis Stock
James Dean, Fairmont, Indiana, on the farm of his Uncle Marcus Winslow, 1955


Dean and Stock remained a week in Fairmont. It was simultaneously a reunion and a farewell. Stock later wrote that James Dean knew that he would never seethe farm again, and for that reason insisted that the last shots were taken of him before the farmhouse. James posed himself, looking straight ahead, while his dog Tuck turned away. It was, according to Stock, the actor's interpretation of'you will never return home again'. Fairmont had formed him, New York had changed him. New York was his laboratory, in which parts of him flew apart only to form together in an arbitrary manner. In New York, he had been discovered by Elia Kazan, director of Fast of Eden, the son of the land had become a god-in-the-making. Even if it took Hollywood to form his image definitively, New York was where the career of the coming star had been launched. Blue jeans, T-shirt, closed windbreaker belong to the Dean mythos just as much as the cigarette and the only partially tamed hair. Dennis Stock wrote "James Dean haunted Times Square", beneath his perhaps most famous portrait of the young actor. "For a novice actor in the fifties this was THE place to go. The Actors Studio, directed by Lee Strasberg, was in its heyday and just a block away." Dean is wearing a dark coat - because of the weather, of course. But the way in which he hides himself in it may also be interpreted as a reference to his vulnerability - it is a cocoon, even if it is in fact black. One should not perhaps over-interpret the color, even though we know that Dean will not live to see the premier of Rebel Without a Cause. On 30 September 1955 at 5:45 p.m., his Porsche Speedster will crash into a Ford sedan. It cannot be claimed that he made a "good-looking corpse"; but he had succeeded in living fast, and dying young -at age twenty-four.

Dennis Stock
From James Dean: A Memorial Portfolio, 1955/1979


For Dennis Stock, his short friendship with James Dean was perhaps the most important station in his life as a photographer. If he is known for anything, then it is for his pictures of Dean, which also circulate as post cards and posters. They form a part of every retrospective of Stock. Gottfried Hellnwein used our key picture as the motif for his own interpretation - and by not observing the copyright, underlined the quasi universal nature of the image.

James Dean on Times Square is somewhat reminiscent of Cartier-Bresson's portrait of Giacometti (here, also, it is raining), and it is no longer possible to imagine the core of the Dean iconography without it. Even today, the photograph remains among the most often printed images of "Hollywood's ultimate god." As Richard Whelan summed it up, Dean's bequest to Stock was a certain financial independence that allowed him to dedicate himself to work that really interested him. In return, the photographer made a movie in homage to his friend: in 1991 Dennis Stock filmed Commeune image, James Dean? as a thirty-eight-minute documentary on the star. And what was the image of James Dean? Towards the end of the film, Stock observes that although he was one of the last of James Dean's friends still to be alive, not one of the fans he had met during his travels had asked who Dean really was and what he had actually been like. The reason being, as Stock answers his own question of why this was so, that everyone creates their own James Dean, according to their own tastes and their own personal needs. Which allows him to be a hero in what has become a very complicated world, someone in fact who is pretty different to the 24-year-old boy Stock had known and photographed.

"Moody New Star" in Life, 7 March 1955: Stock's photograph James Dean on Times Square was published here for the first time, albeit heavily cropped.


James Byron Dean (February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955) was a two-time Oscar-nominated American film actor. Dean's status as a cultural icon is best embodied in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause, in which he starred as troubled high school rebel Jim Stark. The other two roles that defined his star power were as the awkward loner Cal Trask in East of Eden, and as the surly, racist farmer Jett Rink in Giant. His enduring fame and popularity rests on only three films, his entire starring output. His death at a young age helped guarantee a legendary status. He was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and remains the only person to have two such nominations posthumously.




Dennis Stock

Born 1928 in New York. |oins the navy at age 16. After the end of the war turns to photography. 1947—51 trains unde Cjon Mili. 1951 first prize in the Life young photographers competition. Contact with Robert Capa. Magonum member from 1954. Moves to Hollywood, where friends with James Dean. From 1957 intensive photographic explorations of the jazz world. 1960 publication of his book Jazz Street. 1962 withdraws to the country. Turns to nature photography under the influence of the work of Ernst Haas. In the late sixooties spends several months at the Hipp communes of the American South West. 1970 publication of his book The Alternative. Has recently shown grea interest in film and video. Lives in Cenoterb rook/USA



Marilyn Monroe watching the film 'Desireé', 1953



Audrey Hepburn on the set of 'Sabrina', 1954




Audrey Hepburn on the set of "Sabrina" (hat), 1954




Frank Sinatra on stage for JFK Inaugural Ball rehearsal, Washington DC, 1961








Open road for a biker, Colorado, 1971




Waiting trumpeter, 1958




Grace Kelly in her dressing room trailer during the film 'High Society' 1964




Venice Beach rock festival, 1968




William Orval 'Bill' Crow, New York, 1958




Ernest Miller, nicknamed Kid 'Punch' Miller, New Orleans, 1958




San Diego coastline, 1968




Louis Armstrong, last minute of concentration, 1958




Louis Armstrong in his dressing room at the Latin Casino, Philadelphia, 1958




Miles Davis, 1958




Miles Davis, Birdland, 1958




Earl Hines, James H. 'Jimmy' Archey, Francis Joseph 'Muggsy' Spanier, Earl Watkins, 1958




Mahalia Jackson Performs in Concert, 1961




Billie Holiday, 1958


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