Photographer Dennis Stock has died, his agency Magnum Photos has confirmed.

It is understood that he had been suffering from cancer and had been unwell for some time. He was 81.

In a statement Magnum Photos said: ‘Stock managed to evoke the spirit of America through his memorable and iconic portraits of Hollywood stars, most notably James Dean.

‘From 1957 to 1960 Stock made lively portraits of jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Sidney Bechet, Gene Krupa and Duke Ellington for his book Jazz Street.’

Stock met James Dean in 1955. The photographer’s resulting photo-essay was published in Life magazine shortly before the actor’s death.

Stock’s work also appeared in magazines such as Paris Match and Stern.

His photographs have been exhibited worldwide.

The New York office of the photographer’s agency, Magnum Photos, made a formal announcement of his death this afternoon.

French newspaper Le Monde has since reported that the photographer died on 11 January while in Florida.

Stock, who was born in 1928, joined Magnum Photos in 1951 and became a full member in 1954.

The photographer, who lived in New York and had a home in France, also worked as a writer, director and producer for television and film.

He also ran numerous workshops around the world.

The photographer once said: ‘Art is a well-articulated manifestation of an aspect of life. I have been privileged to view much of life through my cameras, making the journey an enlightened experience.

‘My emphasis has mainly been on affirmative reactions to human behaviour and a strong attraction to the beauty in nature.’

Stock’s latest work mainly focused on the ‘abstraction of flowers,’ his agency added.

The news of Stock’s death was first reported by the British Journal of Photography earlier today.

Dennis Stock photo

Picture: Courtesy Magnum Photos