DENNIS STOCK (1928-2010)

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BENNY GOODMAN, 1958 by DENNIS STOCK (1928-2010) - photograph for sale from Beetles & Huxley

BENNY GOODMAN, 1958

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ELLA FITZGERALD, 1958 by DENNIS STOCK (1928-2010) - photograph for sale from Beetles & Huxley

ELLA FITZGERALD, 1958

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AUDREY HEPBURN, DURING THE FILMING OF 'SABRINA', 1954 by DENNIS STOCK (1928-2010) - photograph for sale from Beetles & Huxley

AUDREY HEPBURN, DURING THE FILMING OF 'SABRINA', 1954

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Dennis Stock, an American documentary photographer best known for his glamorous photographs of American icons of the 1950s to 1970s, enjoyed a long and diverse career as a member of Magnum Photos. His pictures have been published in such magazines as LIFE, Stern and Paris Match.

Stock was born in the Bronx, New York City on 24 July 1928 to a Swiss father and a British mother. Leaving home at the age of 16 to join the US Navy, Stock gave up his military career in 1947 taking up an apprenticeship under Gjon Mili, a photographer at LIFE. He achieved early success in his career winning the LIFE magazine Young Photographers award in 1951 and becoming a full member of Magnum in 1954. A year later he went on to produce arguably the most famous work of his career when he took a series of photographs of the young Hollywood icon, James Dean. Travelling with Dean to his hometown in Indiana and to New York City he photographed the film star, just months before his death. He is depicted walking through a rain-drenched Times Square in an oversized coat with a cigarette hanging delicately between his lips. The iconic image went on to become one of the most reproduced photographs in the post-war period and is now emblematic of the life of the pensive and enigmatic star.

Stock is also well known for photographing other young stars including actress Audrey Hepburn and actors Marlon Brando and Sidney Poitier. He is also celebrated for the series of photographs he took of jazz musicians from 1957 until 1961, including important figures such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billy Holiday, Benny Goodman and Sidney Bechet. He took a number of incredibly enduring images of rock concerts, most notably in 1968, he photographed a woman dancing at a festival in Venice Beach, California.

In 1968 Stock took a brief interlude from working with Magnum to start his own company, Visual Objectives Inc., which produced several documentaries. A year later, however, Stock returned to Magnum as President of the new Media and Film department. The decades of the 1970s and 1980s saw a change of direction in Stock's career. Stock turned his lens to focus on images of nature and landscapes. Moving to Provence in France, Stock aimed at capturing the beauty of nature through details. He once said, "the goal of the photographer is to be visually articulate." In the later part of his career, however, he returned to his urban roots and photographed the modern architecture of large cities. In 2006 Stock married writer Susan Richards, and they lived together in Woodstock, New York with their four dogs until his death on 11 January 2010.

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