Friday, 16 October 2015

'Must See' film for Leica fans-'LIFE'

Image result for dennis stock
If,like me, you haven't been near a Cinema for years you might like to start a catch up by viewing the new film from Anton Corbijn ,himself a 'film' user, dealing with a few weeks in the short life of James Dean.
 Dennis Stock of Magnum spent these weeks with Dean in the winter of 1955 partly on the Dean family farm in Indiana during a snow covered winter.  The film covers the build up to the iconic issue of Life magazine containing a classic photo essay marking the premiere of  East of Eden and Stock's Leicas are in almost every scene. He seems to be using an early M3 with a f2.0 Summicron of the collapsable type but also a 111f and an Elmar in places and a bulb flash gun. Well worth a viewing.

After preparing this note I realised I had a copy of  'James Dean Revisited' by Dennis Stock published, in UK, at least by Plexus in 1986, ISBN 0-85965-175-4,  containing the original photographs that have been studied closely to produce the film sets. In particular the Farm scenes,the High School Dance, and those including the tractor have been faithfully reproduced on the screen.

The work produced by Dennis Stock is of a very high quality, probably on fast film stock and in adverse lighting, he only resorts to flash in a night situation, It is interesting that several photographs of Dean in a barbers shop appear in the book, but the script has his Magnum editor reject those, which stimulates the farm visit. In the event,in real life the barbers shop photos are,I think, among the most popular. 
Stock and his son as portrayed in a positive light in the film and reputedly on far better terms than actually applied at the time.A most revealing link is to a discussion with Anton Corbijn at

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