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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


  1. cruesi


    ♥ james dean

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  2. kazarareta


    live fast, die young.

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  3. emilios


    absolute legend

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  4. kylethefrench


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

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  5. mikahsupageek


    +1 to kazarareta

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  6. iaki


    I love him!!! ♥♥♥♥

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  7. ethermoon


    Yes, he's a genius.

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  8. superlighter


    he was the Icon of an era

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  9. 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.

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  10. rio


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

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  11. cily


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



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  13. basterda


    What @cily said.

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  14. 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.

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  15. 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.

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  16. chipmunk



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  17. dalgal77

    He was such a beautiful man! It would have been amazing to see what more he would have accomplished.
    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  18. elletra


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

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  19. marshall4480


    Thanks for the cool article.

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  20. remahor



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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Português, 中文(繁體版), Italiano, Spanish, Deutsch & ภาษาไทย.