Stanley Kubrick takes a self-portrait (1940s)
 


Kubrick before Hollywood

Before A Clockwork Orange, The Shining and Dr Strangelove, the film director tried to make his name as a street photographer

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Chess obsessed, notoriously reclusive and a meticulous perfectionist, the late Stanley Kubrick (1929-1999) was one of the 20th century's legendary film directors. His infamous works include The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut, all considered classic works of cinema. Impressively, all of Kubrick’s films from the 1950s onwards (apart from weirdly The Shining ) were nominated for Oscars, BAFTAs or Golden Globes.

Far lesser known are the products of his pre-film career as a photographer working for Look Magazine between 1945 and 1950. The New Yorker had started taking photographs at high school, and while focussing initially on people as the main subject of his shots, explored increasingly complex compositions and narratives that would eventually be further developed in his films.

The gallery above gives a taster of the 12,000 images he took during his time as a photographer, 400 of which come together in Stanley Kubrick Drama & Shadows: Photographs 1945 - 1950. Many of the photographs possess the same psychological intensity that came to characterise his style as a director. Look out for the 1949 shot from the collection Chicago: City of Social Contrasts in which a suited young businessman showcases the distinctive chin-down-eyes-up 'Kubrick stare' that would repeatedly resurface in unnerving facial closeups of Jack Torrence in The Shining and Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange.

Stanley Kubrick Drama & Shadows: Photographs 1945 - 1950 is available to buy now in hardback. You can also pre-order your copy in paperback.


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Stanley Kubrick