1940s New York through the lens of teenage Stanley Kubrick
10 July 2017
Stanley Kubrick didn't spend years studying at film school – he was out reporting from the streets with a stills camera in hand. A new book and exhibition called Through a Different Lens reveal the fascinating photographic origins of one of cinema's greatest talents.
When Stanley Kubrick was 13 his father bought him a camera and his passion for photography was so all-consuming that his schoolwork suffered. But luckily his talent had been enough to catch the eye of Look magazine – he sold two photos to them while still in high school – and at 17 he was offered a job on staff as an apprentice photographer.
I think if I had gone to college I would never have been a directorStanley Kubrick
In a 1972 interview he reflected that this was the making of him: "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 never have been a director."
"Stanley used to talk about how Look was his college, his fellow photographers were his classmates, and the city was his classroom," says Donald Albrecht from the Museum of the City of New York.
The young Kubrick sought out New York's fascinating inhabitants and told their stories with his photography, ranging from life on the street to the glamour of the city's nightclubs.
For Albrecht, the future direction of Kubrick is evident in these images. "You cannot look at photographs without knowing he’s going to be a filmmaker."
Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs features more than 120 images by Kubrick from the Museum of the City of New York's Look Magazine archive and runs until 28 October 2018. A book of the same title, featuring around 300 photographs from his time at the publication, is available from Taschen.