×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Stanley Kubrick’s Stunning Early Photographs on Display at Museum of the City of New York

Even the greatest auteurs have to start somewhere.

Before he ventured into the far reaches of space and consciousness with “2001: A Space Odyssey,” probed the dark heart of humanity with “The Shining” or “A Clockwork Orange,” and chronicled the pageantry and brutality of the Roman Empire with “Spartacus,” Stanley Kubrick was a lowly staff photographer for Look magazine. It would be a decade before Hollywood came calling, but even in his early days behind a camera, Kubrick had a talent for capturing a revealing exchange or a sly glance that speaks volumes. His time at Look is the subject of a new exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, titled “Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs.” The show runs from May 3 through next October.

10347_35mm_ 004
CREDIT: Museum of the City of New York

“You cannot look at photographs without knowing he’s going to be a filmmaker,” said Donald Albrecht, curator of architecture and design at the museum. “There were a lot of great photographers at Look and he probably wasn’t the greatest one there, but there was something about Stanley that you just knew he had what it took to get to the next level.”

Kubrick sold his first photo at 17 and got his job at Look when he was still just a teenager, exhibiting a youthful chutzpah that had him quickly developing a wunderkind reputation. He was particularly adept at scouting human-interest stories for the magazine and for telling stories with his photos. New York, then at the height of its post-World War II powers, is the canvas on which Kubrick paints portraits of urban life — from shoeshine boys to night club revelers to young lovers sharing a subway car. In a nod to his future profession, Kubrick captures Montgomery Clift in a rare, unguarded moment.

Popular on Variety

CREDIT: Museum of the City of New York

“Stanley used to talk about how Look was his college, his fellow photographers were his classmates, and the city was his classroom,” said Albrecht.

The exhibition will display over 120 works from his tenure at Look, which lasts from roughly 1945 to 1950. The show will be organized chronologically and will include both published and unpublished imaged from Kubrick. It will also have a section that illustrates links between Kubrick’s future film career and his early days at Look. One of those connections is indisputable. Kubrick’s first film, a 16-minute documentary entitled “Day of the Fight,” focuses on Walter Cartier, a boxer that he initially photographed for the magazine.

“The job of a photojournalist is studying the way people behave, in exotic or more mundane ways,” said Sean Corcoran, curator of prints and photographs at the museum. “You can see Kubrick applying his penetrating observations to that kind of behavior, and the way that he photographs the city is almost like film noir. He always shows a flair for dramatic lighting.”

See more of Kubrick’s photos below.

35mm_11817_ 033

10368 115

66cm_11294__ 008

35mm_11448_ 007

More Film

  • Joel Silver

    Silver Pictures Settles with Family of Assistant Who Died on Bora Bora Trip

    Silver Pictures has reached a confidential settlement with the family of Carmel Musgrove, the assistant to Joel Silver who was found dead in a Bora Bora lagoon in 2015. Musgrove’s family filed a wrongful death suit in 2017, alleging that she had been overworked and furnished with drugs and alcohol during the trip. The family [...]

  • David O. Russell

    David O. Russell Looks at 'Three Kings' 20 Years Later

    When David O. Russell made “Three Kings” in 1999, it was one of the most definitive films on the Gulf War. At the time, the director had worked on shorts “Hairway to the Stars” and “Bingo Inferno: A Parody on American Obsessions.” He had also worked on features “Spanking the Monkey” and “Flirting with Disaster.” [...]

  • Metoo Sundance The Glorias Zola On

    #MeToo Issues Continue to Make an Impact on Sundance Films

    If there were any doubts that the impact of sexual-harassment exposés­­ and backlash against them had died down, Oprah Winfrey put them to rest when she withdrew her name (and Apple’s distribution) from “On The Record,” a film about allegations against music execs Russell Simmons and L.A. Reid — just two weeks before its Sundance Film Festival premiere. Variety reached out to Winfrey and the [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein arrives at a Manhattan

    Harvey Weinstein's Request to Move Trial Out of NYC Is Denied (Again)

    An appeals court denied the second request from Harvey Weinstein’s legal team to move his trial out of New York City on Tuesday. Weinstein’s attorneys asked the Appellate Division last week to move the trial to Albany or Suffolk County, arguing it is impossible for him to get a fair trial due to the “carnival-like [...]

  • Adrian Rossi appears in Summer White

    Visit Films to Sell Sundance Player ‘Summer White’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    New York-based sales company Visit Films has acquired worldwide rights for Mexican feature “Summer White,” world premiering in Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition on Sunday Jan. 26. Visit will also be screening the film at Berlinale’s European Film, Market. Now a key North American sales company for Latin American films, Visit’s catalog includes other major [...]

  • Avengers Endgame

    4DX High-Tech Cinemas Break Box Office Records in 2019

    CJ 4DPLEX, the company behind multi-sensory 4DX cinema technology, has announced that it had a record-breaking 2019, grossing more than £246 million ($320 million) for 4DX worldwide. It was the best year yet for the groundbreaking format, marking a 12% increase from 2018’s record $286 million. The uptick is partly credited to booming revenues in [...]

  • Endeavor Content Studio Logo

    Endeavor Content, Exile Strike First-Look Deal With Mexican Producer Subtrama (EXCLUSIVE)

    Endeavor Content is upping its local-language game, signing a significant first look deal with Mexico City-based producer Subtrama. Endeavor enters the deal with Exile Content Studio, a long-form English and Spanish content maker. Subtrama is behind films like Gael García Bernal’s “Museo.” Mauricio Katz, Manuel Alcalá, and Panorama Global’s Gerardo Gatica and Alberto Muffelmann run [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content