Excellent photographers have a knack for incising specimens and peeling back their enigmatic skins, and there are few enigmas more beloved than Hollywood icon James Dean, whose disillusioned persona and untimely death only enhanced his quiet magnetism. Like the photos of socialites or literary lions, there's something particularly fascinating about seeing famous people at home, where their personalities and interests manifest as built space.
In 1953, the year after Dean made his Broadway debut, the actor stopped living out of a suitcase and snagged a cheap, fifth-floor walk-up on on West 68th, what Arch Digest once described as "a tiny chamber with space only for a daybed, a built-in desk and a hot plate." Here is where Dennis Stock began to photograph the actor as he eked out a living. Stock, whose photos were published in LIFE and show Dean in solitude, surrounded only by books and records, said he was eager to document "the environments that affected the unique character of James Byron Dean."
· Rare Glimpse Into the Personal Life of Iconic James Dean [My Modern Met]
· James Dean: the East of Eden Star's New York Apartment [Architectural Digest]