Stanley Kubrick: Through a Different Lens – #MonthlyExhibit

The exhibition tells the story of the beginnings of a 17-year-old amateur photographer from the Bronx who was to become one of the most important record keepers of the 20th century. All the photos in the exhibition were taken when he worked for Look between 1945 and 1950. Kubrick portrays nightclubs, street scenes and sporting events, capturing the feelings of everyday life with a sophistication that does not show his young age.

And it was at this point I decided to treat the story as a nightmare comedy. Following this approach, I found it never interfered with presenting well-reasoned arguments. In culling the incongruous, it seemed to me to be less stylized and more realistic than any so-called serious, realistic treatment, which in fact is more stylized than life itself by its careful exclusion of the banal, the absurd, and the incongruous. In the content of impending world destruction, hypocrisy, misunderstanding, lechery, paranoia, ambition, euphemism, patriotism, heroism, and even reasonableness can evoke a grisly laugh.

Stanley Kubrick

Born and raised in the Bronx. At the age of thirteen his father gave him a camera, and he became very fond of it. Towards the end of the 1940s, he also became interested in cinematography and regularly visited the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1951, in his early twenties, he made his debut short film Day of the fight, self-produced with his savings and later acquired by RKO for the series This is America. Enthused by his success, he left his job at ‘Look’ and devoted himself entirely to filmmaking. Despite his success with audiences and critics over the years, he was never awarded an Oscar as a director or screenwriter. He died in 1999 at the age of 77.

Aiming his camera at the city of New York, Kubrick found inspiration in characters and settings from the mundane to the gritty. His photography, as we can imagine, laid the technical and aesthetic foundations for cinema.

Stanley Kubrick sold his first photograph to Look magazine in 1945. It was an image of a dejected news-stand vendor the day after the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. For a burgeoning photographer like him, there was no better place to be that time than New York. Indeed, after his graduation in 1946, Look hired him as an apprentice.

His name appeared for the first time in January 1947. His first assignment, Life and Love on the New York Subway, was published two months later. A particularly valuable experience for an aspiring recorder is certainly the stories devoted to post-war forms of entertainment in America. In 1950, he created a series of celebrity profiles, photographing among others the orchestral composer Leonard Bernstein and the boxer Rocky Graziano.

At the end of this activity, he started working on his first documentary Day of the fight. The film, which premiered in 1951, was based on his 1949 article about the boxer Walter Cartier, The Professional.

Fighter shots

Stanley Kubrick Photographs brings together 120 images, some previously published, some previously unpublished, displayed in chronological order to the point where the photographer’s eye and the director’s eye meet. Towards the final moments of his work at Look, Kubrick took photos of boxers Rocky Graziano and Walter Cartier. The photos taken for the magazine served as a storyboard, from which Kubrick developed scenes, chose camera angles, shots and lighting. A working method, that of using the shots as sketches for films, which Kubrick would maintain throughout his film career. He says that boxers live an almost animalistic life, whose only objective is to knock out their opponent. the opponent. At the same time, it is also pointed out, with a certain lyricism, that in boxing At the same time, it is also pointed out, with a certain lyricism, that in boxing “many are called, but few are the chosen”.

Love snaps in the street

From 1950 onwards, Kubrick devoted himself to photographic investigations of love, teenage relationships and marital jealousy. He directed this proto-cinema series brilliantly. Throughout his life he relied on photography to develop the scripts for his stories. He also created a short film called Killer’s Kiss in 1955 in which his main themes are recognizable: boxing, crime, nightclubs and showgirls, ambition and alienation.

The passion for photography is one of the red threads of his career. Kubrick could spend hours studying a shot, to the point of nagging the actors, who always treated him with mystical respect. The result is an obsessive attention to the details of the image, to perspective and lighting, to the position of the actors and props, to symmetry, so much so that every one of his films can be studied in every frame as a ‘framing album’.
The aesthetic sense of his films is, however, the result of a work of integration between different channels of communication: the real context of his stories is in fact a fabric of image and music, a fundamental element for conveying emotions to the spectator.

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