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Rare photos featuring James Dean, Marylin Monroe and Marlon Brando revealed in stunning new book

Incredible set of photographs are the work of shutterbug Dennis Stock

Include striking 1955 shot of James Dean walking through Times Square

Subject of upcoming Anton Courbijn biopic starring Robert Pattinson

He was a friend of James Dean and made a career from photographing the stars of Hollywood's Golden Age but photographer Dennis Stock never quite managed to achieve the name recognition of his stellar subjects.

Now that could be about to change following news that the photographer's life story is to be turned into a film starring Robert Pattinson.

But before the film is released next year, a new book devoted to his star-studded career has been launched and sheds light on his career following Dean's death.

Written by Tony Nourmand and Graham Marsh, the tome, Dennis Stock: American Cool, includes some of the late snapper's most striking images, among them his 1955 shot of a then unknown Dean walking through Times Square in New York.

Stock's career-defining friendship with Dean is also the subject of director Anton Corbijn's upcoming biopic, Life, which is scheduled to arrive in cinemas next year with Pattinson in the lead role.

But as the book reveals, there is more to Stock's oeuvre than his work with Dean. Following the actor's tragically early death, Stock went on to produce stunning photographs of Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and assassinated president John F. Kennedy among others.

Later, he turned his attention to the world of jazz and produced some of the best images ever created of period singers such as Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Miles Davies and Louis Armstrong.

Taken in smoke-filled rooms, listening intently to other musicians, totally relaxed and un-posed, they reflect Stock's ability to instill confidence in his subjects. 'He had the ability to see a shot, as well as react to unforeseen situations, and to produce a photograph that captured the situation or the essence of an individual,' explains Dr Michael Pritchard, director general of the Royal Photographic Society, who wrote the introduction to the book.

And Pritchard isn't the only one to single out Stock's unerring eye and empathetic manner. 'I think what made Dennis such a magnificent photographer was his empathy, whether for the rich and famous or the downtrodden and anonymous,' adds former friend and colleague, Michael Shulman.

Writing in the foreword to the book, he adds: 'He was never condescending but always aware of our shared humanity. … We have his amazing photographs as evidence to remind us of the range of emotion and experience captured so poetically by his photographers' eye and sensitivity. He really was one of a kind.'

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Daily Mail

19 Nov 2013

By Ruth Styles