Dennis Grass

Dennis Grasse


Dennis Grasse

I met Dennis in February 2011 when he came to my flat not in his capacity as a photographer, but as a potential ASM (Assistant Stage Manager) for my touring show. Tall, German, and good-looking to the point of annoyance, he got the job and we spent the next five months together on the road. After a few weeks of rehearsing the show, he mentioned an interest in portrait photography – an interest I naively thought we shared until I saw the quality of his work - but it was only after a show at the National Theatre when I was hanging around in the green room that I realised how serious he was. There was, in that strange den of lushes and lingering actors' friends, a selection of portraits on the wall. Intrigued, I spent some time enjoying the ten or so displayed photographs before realising that they were the work of my new colleague.

Each picture is the result of a few stolen minutes with the subject, and it takes a certain charm to persuade the celebrated to pose for a photograph when so much of their time is taken up with doing just that. Dennis has an easy, unpresumptuous-but-unabashed approach that must work well for him. He is self-assured, self-contained and tactile. It is of no surprise to me that he has persuaded such luminaries as those shown within these pages to nip off into to some corner where suitable lighting or a couple of props will allow him to realise his peculiar vision for them My favourite is the photograph of Micky Dolenz. I didn’t know it was him at first: I just saw a friendly, older, smiling face that seemed familiar. I had, as most likely had you, last watched him regularly when I was a child, when he was the twenty-something drummer on The Monkees. That shocked and moved me. I grabbed the book and brought my face close to the page to absorb this charismatic, griseous version of the erstwhile knockabout prototype boy-bander. Micky Dolenz. And here he is now, a great image of how to grow older extraordinarily well, peeking out of one of Dennis' pictures. It's a great shot, that has clearly involved Dennis laying on the floor, presumably in Micky's dressing room.

I'm very proud to be included in his photos. I hope you enjoy them too.​

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Dennis Grasse
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