Everyone knows the photograph of James Dean walking in the rain at Times Square, but what about the one of him communing with a cow, or beating the bongos for a pig? Such bucolic scenes are part of the charm of Dennis Stock: James Dean, a new book that collects the photographer’s shots of the actor for Life magazine in March 1955, to coincide with the release of East of Eden.
Stock’s aim was a photo-essay of the actor’s origins in rural Fairmount, Indiana, as well as his early years in New York. The result was an unguarded, mostly unglamorous, portrait of a young man who would soon be the hottest star in the world, and who would be dead before the year was out, his next two films, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant, released posthumously. As Stock recalls in Joe Hyams’s introduction to the book, “We were both saddened by the end of the week in Fairmount. I think we both knew that Jimmy would never come back home again and that life would never be the same for him there.
“The trip was really a nostalgic farewell to his origins, his way of saying goodbye to the past. I don’t mean to imply that he felt he was going to die, but I believe he felt he was truly on the way to a far different life.’’
Dean and his cousin Markie at the grave of the actor’s greatgrandfather, Cal Dean, in Fairmount’s Park Cemetery
In a barber shop near Times Square, New York. ‘He was not at all fastidious about his looks; in fact, he would turn up more often than not in shaggy-dog style,’ recalls Dennis Stock
Dean returns to the Fairmont, Indiana, farm belonging to Ortense and Marcus Winslow, the aunt and uncle who raised him after his mother died of cancer in 1940
Dean in a scene from Rebel Without a Cause, which was released after his death