Before he became an iconic and renowned filmmaker, Stanley Kubrick was a photojournalist at Look magazine. Aged 17, the Bronx-born Stanley joined the publication in 1945 and spent his days shooting New Yorkers in their natural environment, ranging from shoeshine kids on the streets and subway commuters to high society debutants. His photographs, revealed in a new book by Taschen, show a knack for capturing delightful, candid and opportune moments, and a clear eye for character.
Spanning 300 images across five years, many previously unseen, the book by Luc Sante, Sean Corcoran and Donald Albrecht shines a light on the early work that sparked his creative career. “Kubrick was less interested in formal education – he was a poor student who barely made it out of high school – than in lessons of the real world,” say the authors. “For Kubrick, the Manhattan offices of Look proved to be his college, its editors and fellow photographers his professors, and New York City his field of study.”
Kubrick once said of his time at the magazine: “By the time I was 21 I had four years of seeing how things worked in the world. I think if I had gone to college I would have never have become a director.”
It was shortly after his time at the magazine that Kubrick started making short films, and of course went on to an illustrious career, directing films such as Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this month. The book is released to coincide with a major show at the Museum of the City of New York, open until 28 October 2018.
Stanley Kubrick Photographs. Through a Different Lens by Sean Corcoran and Donald Albrecht, with an introduction by noted photography critic Luc Sante, is published by Taschen.