His iconic portraits of James Dean in a wintry New York triumphed him fame. But it was his advances in the west coast that brought out his true genius, as he captivated the crackings in the 60 s counterculture
‘For many years California scared the shit out of me ,” Dennis Stock wrote in the preface 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 passed .”
Stock, a naturally sceptical New Yorker who had have participated in the US Navy before hustling his style into the grades of the reverenced Magnum photo busines, had instinctively picked up on the edgy overtones of the late 1960 s Californian hippy dream. As the idealism of that decade peaked and faded, California became what Stock called a” brain laboratory”- provoking many radically alternative life-styles fuelled by eastern mysticism, experiments in communal living, and all kinds of post-LSD knowledge expansion.
And, as the portraits in the freshly 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 new kind of society where” technological and spiritual pursuings vibrate … intermingling, often establishing the ethereal “.