His iconic photographs of James Dean in a chilly New York acquired him fame. But it was his roams in the west coast that brought out his true genius, as he captured the rifts in the 60 s counterculture
‘For many years California scared the shit out of me ,” Dennis Stock wrote in the foreword to California Trip, first be made available in 1970 . “ For a young man with traditional concerns for spiritual and aesthetic guild, California seemed too unreal. I ran .”
Stock, a naturally sceptical New Yorker who had served in the US Navy before hustling his practice into the grades of the reverenced Magnum photo busines, had instinctively picked up on the edgy undercurrents of the late 1960 s Californian hippy dream. As the idealism of that decade peaked and faded, California became what Stock called a” premier laboratory”- fomenting various radically alternative lifestyles fuelled by eastern mysticism, experimentations in communal living, and all kinds of post-LSD subconsciou expansion.
And, as the likeness in the recently reissued California Trip show, Stock’s initial apprehensive incomprehension soon turned to fascination. In time, he came to see California as the frontier for a brand-new kind of society where” technological and spiritual searches vibrate … intermingling, often forming the ethereal “.