Before becoming a great filmmaker, Stanley Kubrick was a photographer for Look magazine

❝ Director Stanley Kubrick’s science-fiction classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is a challenging and technically dazzling piece of cinema.

From the enigmatic Dawn of Man opening to the climactic mindbending trip through the Stargate, the film still feels at the vanguard of genre, special effects, and cinematography. Yet while making 2001, Kubrick utilized a relatively low-fi piece of gear: a clunky Polaroid camera.

❝ It’s estimated Kubrick shot some 10,000 insta-images on 2001, and if you only know Kubrick as a reclusive eccentric that reliance on the Polaroid might seem a characteristic quirk.

But in fact it was an extension of the creative sensibility he developed as a teenager working for Look. From 1945 to 1950, Kubrick was a photographer for the picture magazine, evocatively and empathically documenting ordinary New Yorkers, celebrities, athletes, and post-war playgrounds like the amusement park.

He shot more than 135 assignments for LOOK while honing the skills, relationships, and chutzpah that led him to filmmaking.

RTFA through to the end. There – along with stills in the article – you’ll find a few more examples of Kubrick’s work for LOOK. A delight.

5 thoughts on “Before becoming a great filmmaker, Stanley Kubrick was a photographer for Look magazine

  1. Filmer says:

    “Flying Padre” (Stanley Kubrick, 1951) “After Kubrick sold his first short film, the self-financed “Day of the Fight”, to RKO in 1951 for $4000 (pocketing a $100 profit), the company advanced the 23-year-old filmmaker money to make a documentary short for their Pathe Screenliner series. Flying Padre was the result.
    In an interview in 1969, Kubrick referred to Flying Padre as “silly”.

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