James Dean: A Movie Icon With an Eye for Photography


We all know James Dean as the legendary actor who lived fast and died young. He was the subject of almost every photographer of his era. But aside from acting and racing, one of his passions was the medium of photography.

I’ve known him for a long time because I’ve heard his name referenced in a song and in a movie line. I’ve also seen pictures of him almost everywhere. But recently, I started to get to know him more. I watched all 3 of his films and I instantly fell in love with him. He was a great Method actor. Then I started researching all about him and his work. I was surprised when I saw pictures of him with a camera. Photography was also one his hobbies! His teacher was photographer Roy Schatt who shot the famous Torn Sweater series of James Dean.

There was this particular picture (shown below) where he was holding a Rollei TLR. Roy Schatt took this picture and I’ve read that when James Dean saw that place, he immediately jumped in and took a picture of Roy Schatt and a colleague because he thought it was a great point of view that nobody will ever think of. Brilliant!

Unfortunately, the pictures that he took are scarce on the internet but I bet they’re great because he had a gifted mind. Anyway, Roy Schatt’s book, James Dean: A Portrait, has some photographs taken by James Dean.

His 55th death anniversary is coming up this September 30th and I think those who love him and have been inspired by him should celebrate him one way or another. And this article is my part on commemorating him.

Official Website

Pictures are taken from the internet

written by lenfranpsycho on 2010-09-30 in #lifestyle #legend-movie-icon-photography-tribute


  1. cruesi
    cruesi ·

    ♥ james dean

  2. kazarareta
    kazarareta ·

    live fast, die young.

  3. emilios
    emilios ·

    absolute legend

  4. kylethefrench
    kylethefrench ·

    also a fantastic old time sexy gay, he would be on this site if he were alive today

  5. mikahsupageek
    mikahsupageek ·

    +1 to kazarareta

  6. iaki
    iaki ·

    I love him!!! ♥♥♥♥

  7. ethermoon
    ethermoon ·

    Yes, he's a genius.

  8. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    he was the Icon of an era

  9. veantunes
    veantunes ·

    I'm a huge fan of his. To the point of watching his every move in every movie, and dvd extras. Just to see if maybe I'd find out a little extra something about him I didn't know an hour before. It bothers me a little, how sometimes people talk about him as if he were a brand. The James Dean brand, "a product filled with rebellion, and inexplicable anger who was such a daredevil, he kept speeding when a car was heading directly into his." I think he was a much more interesting, sensitive, timeless, and complex person than pop culture or whatever has made him out to be, and I like how you showed a little bit of that in this article.
    His is definitely a biography worth reading.

  10. rio
    rio ·

    thanks for this article. i like james dean and it was unfortunate that I didn't live in his generation.

  11. cily
    cily ·

    All I see are pictures of him, what about the photos he took?

  12. chaoticsense
    chaoticsense ·


  13. basterda
    basterda ·

    What @cily said.

  14. kdstevens
    kdstevens ·

    The man had good taste. The Rollei Automat is a classic, the car he died in is a classic, and, if I'm not mistaken, the mini tripod he's shown with in one of the photos is by Leica. Sorely missed.

  15. lenfranpsycho
    lenfranpsycho ·

    Thanks for all the likes and comments. <3

    @cily and @basterda - I searched the internet but can't find photos he took. Although there is a book by Roy Schatt, James Dean: A Portrait, that has photos he taken. It was mentioned in the article. I'd love to buy the book and scan them but it's not available in major bookstores.

  16. chipmunk
    chipmunk ·


  17. dalgal77
    dalgal77 ·

    He was such a beautiful man! It would have been amazing to see what more he would have accomplished.

  18. elletra
    elletra ·

    fantastic article, I wish I would have read it yesterday :/

  19. marshall4480
    marshall4480 ·

    Thanks for the cool article.

  20. remahor
    remahor ·


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