In 1947, Sanford Roth, a native of New York, moved to Paris with his wife, Beulah, a Siamese cat, and a small camera. He was determined to pursue a career as a photographer. As the city recuperated from the years of German occupation, a renaissance took place before Roth's eyes. He captured Paris and the Parisians from Montmarte to Montparnasse and became lifelong friends with Colette, Picasso, Cocteau, and many other artists and intellectuals.
He later used his skills as a photojournalist to photograph film stars in both Europe and Hollywood. His photographs of James Dean, for instance, became world famous and contributed to the cult status Dean acquired.
Sanford Roth's photographs appeared in Life, Look, Paris Match, Elle, People, Harper's Bazaar, and Oggii. In 1953, a collection of his Paris photographs were published under the title of The French of Paris with an introduction by Aldous Huxley. Four books of Roth's photographs have been published since his death in 1962, including Paris in the Fifties (1988), Italy, 50s (1990), Portraits of the Fifties (1987) and James Dean (1983).