Dennis Stock (1928 - 2010)

Dennis Stock (1928 - 2010)

Dennis Stock was born in New York City. When he was still a young boy, his father died, and at the age of sixteen, Stock left home to join the United States Navy. After leaving the military, in 1947, Stock became an apprentice to "Life" magazine photographer Gjon Mili, who had a reputation for fine graphic sensitivity and a wild desire for experimentation with light and movement. Later, Stock was to dedicate his retrospective volume Made in the USA to Mili, Henri Cartier-Bresson, W. Eugene Smith and Ernst Haas; four exponents of ‘humanist’ or ‘ concerned’ photography and rightly credited with being a major influence not only on Stock, but on a generation of photographers. He won first prize in "Life"’s Young Photographers Contest for his Lewis Hine-inspired picture of the arrival of East German refugees in New York's harbor. He joined Magnum in 1951.

tock managed to evoke the spirit of America through his memorable and iconic portraits of Hollywood stars, most notably James Dean, whom he met in Hollywood in 1955 and photographed there and on his family farm in Indiana. From 1957 to 1960, Stock made lively and intimate portraits of jazz and blues musicians. His portrayals of Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Sidney 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. In 1968, Stock took a leave of absence from Magnum to create Visual Objectives, a film production company, and he shot several documentaries such as Efforts to Provoke, Quest and British Youth. In the late 1960s, he concentrated on California, capturing the attempts of hippies to reshape society according to ideals of love and caring.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Stock was based in Woodstock, New York and Provence, France, and often traveled to Italy. During this period, he worked on color books emphasizing the beauty of nature through details and landscape. In the 1990s he went back to his urban origins, exploring the modern architecture of large cities. Stock has generated a book or an exhibition almost every year since the 1950s. He has taught numerous workshops and exhibited his work widely in France, Italy, the United States and Japan. His photographs have appeared in major publications such as "Paris Match" and "Stern".

He has worked as a writer, director, and producer for television and film, and has exhibited his work at the Art Institute of Chicago; International Center of Photography, New York; Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris; Schirm Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. His photographs have been acquired by most major museum collections. He served as president of Magnum's film and new media division in 1969 and 1970. His desire to continue his work in both still and moving media is now harnessed to his concern for environmental protection, which has resulted in documentary journeys from Japan to Alaska, Hawaii, and back to his beloved France. He has lectured widely on related themes, and run numerous workshops across Europe and the United States. Dennis Stock currently resides in Provence, France, and Connecticut, USA.

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