James Dean



This is a photo of James Dean in 1955 taken for LIFE magazine in a spread called “Torn Sweaters.”  James’ gaze is directed right at the viewer.  The object he is looking into is obviously a camera, in which it likewise captures and holds the look of James.  His gaze can definitely be linked to traditional psychoanalytic theory in the sense that his gaze is intimate and can create fantasy.  His head seems to be tilted slightly down given the position of his chin and that can demonstrate desire for control over the object he sees.  Even though James is the object of the look, I still feel he holds more power given his status as a good looking actor.  But the person that is viewing this photo has power in the sense that one can choose to gaze at any section of this photo. 

 James is caught in between the dynamics of desire through trajectories of looking and being looked at among objects and other people.  The spectator (me) looked at James simply because I am fan of him and find him very attractive which created the source of my gaze.  However, James can be seen as a spectator as well in the sense that he is the one looking.