Dennis Hopper is famous for his work in front of the camera as an actor but what some people may not know is his work behind it. Aside from his work directing and producing films, he was an accomplished photographer with countless exhibitions under his belt.
Pick a book about the Los Angeles art scene in the Sixties and you’re likely to encounter one of Dennis Hopper’s many iconic photographs. With then never before seen images of celebrities, both disarmed and in their element, Hopper’s photography provided a refreshing and different look that never fails to captivate his audience.
Hopper first ventured into photography during the early days of his acting career when projects were slow. His first wife, Brooke Hayward, bought him a Nikon camera for his 25th birthday and as terribly cliche as it may sound, the rest is history. Hopper was able to immerse himself in his art and document the LA scene as no one could. Timeless images like the ones of fellow actors, Dean Martin & John Wayne, to artists Andy Warhol, David Hockney & Roy Lichtenstein and musicians Tina & Ike Turner peppered his impressive portfolio of artistic portraits.
The photography world, as well as film and art, has truly lost one of its most brilliant gems in his death. We hope that his life, both in the good and bad, can serve as an inspiration and a beacon for all of us. We close now with one of his more famous quotes about photography, which remains very relevant to this very day, especially for us analogue shooters:
“I think of that with my photographs. I think of them as ‘found’ paintings because I don’t crop them, I don’t manipulate them or anything. So they’re like ‘found’ objects to me.”