When James Dean asked me to teach him photography I felt much as I did later when Elia Kazan (who directed Dean in East of Eden) asked me to teach him photography: “You?” I said to Kazan. “Me teach you? Give me one good reason.” He had the greatest: “I want to be able to argue with my Cameramen.” Dean’s reasons were less clear. Was he really serious? Did he feel a need to manipulate situations, or did he merely want to record them? Could an actor of his presence record events without influencing them? …I’m still puzzling over the possible answers.
During our first meeting Jim asked me if I would shoot him, not as a regular session, but to document his activities. It soon developed that he wanted to shoot me as well, so we began classes. I immediately found out that his concentration was not to be counted on, which meant that our classes were somewhat unpredictable and by necessity changeable in form. However, when he was interested and participating, his energy was powerful. He had that greatest of intellectual qualities—curiosity about everything.
“Stick to the classics, and you can’t ever go wrong. I see old ladies on the street who have fabulous style and realize it’s because they are probably wearing really classic items that they’ve had for years and years. I think if you find something that suits you, you should just stick to it.” - Alexa Chung