Beyond Iconic

2011 / 75min. / USA

James Dean walks down Broadway, his shoulders hunched against the drizzle. The greatest legends of jazz, from Louis Armstrong to the cool Miles Davis, are caught in some of their most passionate or private moments. Epitomizing the spirit of 1960’s counter-culture, a hippie plays a flute as he walks along, all his earthly belongings in a back-pack. Lost in her own thoughts for a moment, Audrey Hepburn sits pensive between takes. Images capture the subdued beauty of a Provence winter. Like an abstract painting, the sun appears as a point of light behind a window coated thickly with frost. Modern architecture captured as an almost sci-fi fantasy - an environment so artificial that it is sublimely beautiful. All of these images came from the eye, mind and camera of Dennis Stock (1928-2010), one of the most influential chroniclers of the late 20th century.

A master class on life, a portrait of a life fully realized: Beyond Iconic introduces Mr. Stock in his own words and through hundreds of his famous photographs, which include images from the Golden Age of Hollywood and Jazz, hippies, the American social landscape, architecture, landscapes and nature. More than a biographic documentary, Beyond Iconic also brings us into Mr. Stock's photography workshop shortly before his recent death. Mr. Stock was an artist of great self-awareness, intellectual depth and a talent for expressing strong opinions, deep thoughts, and revealing anecdotes. This film is a look at Stock’s brilliant and famous photography, his colorful and adventurous life, and his brassy personality, while not failing to examine the issues of photography as a social force and art form, America then-and-now, art education, and the meaning of creative integrity.

Stocks’s prolific work captured not only history, beauty and humor, but it stands as a record of his life as well. Both an art-form and a concrete means to record reality, photography relates to our very existence. In Mr. Stock’s own words, “It is a marvelous way of saying ‘I’ve been here!’”


Director and Writer: Hanna Sawka


Doc NYC Festival -Official Selection
Starz Denver Film Festival - Official Selection