Friday, May 29, 2009

Dennis Stock's Christmas in Wales

It is amazing how many great photographers have worked in Wales: Robert Capa, W. Eugene Smith, Robert Frank, Josef Koudelka, Elliott Erwitt, Bruce Davidson, Bill Brandt and, more recently, Bruce Gilden and Martin Parr.

One of the most unlikely snappers to have ventured here is Dennis Stock. Stock is renowned for his shots of Hollywood stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, and in particular his 1955 James Dean series. A posterised version of his now-famous image of an overcoated Dean trudging through Times Square, New York, has adorned the walls of countless teenage bedrooms. It's one of the most iconic photos of the twentieth century.

In 1962 Stock completed a Welsh assignment for Magnum. I don't know if these pictures ever appeared in any magazine articles - certainly 'A Child's Christmas in Wales' was a popular feature with American editors in the '50s and '60s - but I've never seen them before. I don't know, either, where in Wales these shots were taken, as the captions are somewhat vague. The dearth of knowledge pertaining to Stock's fascinating Welsh images demonstrates, I suppose, just how sorely neglected Wales's photographic heritage is.

If you have any more information about the location of these photographs, or indeed if you happen to be featured in them yourself, get in touch.

*Both of the above images are © Dennis Stock/Magnum