Looking at the photo above, you’ll instantly register the man in front of the camera as a screen icon. What you won’t instantly register is that the man behind the camera is a screen icon, too.
The Royal Academy’s forthcoming photography exhibition presents a rare chance to enjoy the personal snaps of the late, great Dennis Hopper, and these shots give a taster of what will be on offer.
When Hopper wasn’t giving some of the most mesmerising turns in the history of cinema (Billy in Easy Rider, Frank in Blue Velvet, King Koopa in Super Mario Bros), he was also a keen amateur photographer, and, aside from snapping fellow big screen legends such as Paul Newman and Jane Fonda - as well as artists such as David Hockney and Andy Warhol – he took time to document moments of cultural and counter-cultural resonance.
See his striking shots of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, mid-speech in 1965, and his artfully framed images of psychedelic woodland ‘happenings’ in the late Sixties, including the excellently titled ‘Hippie Girl Dancing’. You’ll be treated to Hopper’s forays into fashion photography, and some eerie-but-beautiful shots of US gas stations that could have come straight from Blue Velvet.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, Newman is sitting in a fence’s silhouette in that photo – he’s not auditioning for Spider-Man.
‘Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album’ opens at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, on 26 June; royalacademy.org.uk