James Dean in New York City, 1955.
While in New York, Dean attended classes at the famous Actor’s Studio, directed by Lee Strasberg. While on the way to the studio one day, Stock photographed Dean in nearby Times Square. Rain was falling heavily and a light mist hung in the distance. Stock asked Dean to walk towards him a couple of times and shot just four frames with the actor at different distances from the camera.
Dennis Stock’s contact sheet.
Three of the four frames showed Dean at the centre of the image, his outline conflicting with a building behind him. However, one of the shots was perfectly composed, with Dean placed against a clearer background and roughly one third of the way across the frame. Stock had instinctively used Dean’s reflection in the wet street as part of his composition, and further strengthened the image by using the pavement and railings on the right to lead into the subject.
James Dean in Times Square by Dennis Stock, dark room print notes by Pablo Inirio.
(Photos by Dennis Stock/Magnum Photos)