On Times Square

A cynical curmudgeon, protege of Henri Cartier Bresson and chronicler of post-war Hollywood, Dennis Stock–who died last week in Florida–was more famous for the iconic photograph he posed for Andreas Feininger. Stock’s own most famous photograph is probably that of James Dean hunched on the Times Square, ‘bearing the weight of a generation on his shoulders,’ according to Adam Gopnik writing for The New Yorker. The Independent has this to say:

“Though Stock prosaically titled it On Times Square, it was renamed Boulevard of Broken Dreams* and adorned thousands of student walls from the 1950s onwards. The image of Dean trudging through Times Square in the rain, his body reflected in a puddle, shoulders hunched, cigarette dangling from lip has become an enduring image of the lonesome outsider.

“Stock met Dean in 1955, even before his first film, East of Eden, had been released. They got on so well that he was asked by Nicholas Ray, director of Rebel Without a Cause, to be Dean’s dialogue coach. Stock once explained the reason for Dean’s haggard good looks. “He wasn’t a drinker. He smoked a lot but everyone did in those days. What he was was an insomniac. He went to parties because he couldn’t sleep.”

*To be precise, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” is a lithograph by Gottfried Helnwein of “On Times Square”.

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