Stanley Kubrick Photo – Chicago at Night, 27 January 1949

Chicago at night by Stanley Kubrick
Photograph of Chicago at night in 1949 taken by Stanley Kubrick for Look magazine. The film He Walked by Night (1948) is playing at the State Lake Theater.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Stanley Kubrick is cited as being one of the greatest cinematic filmmakers in the history of film. Producing some of the most influential films of the 20th century, including The Shinning and 2001: A Space Oddesy, which have been represented throughout pop culture, Stanley Kubrick had unsuspecting beginnings.

Only achieving average grades during his high school education and upbringing in the Bronx, Kubrick is believed to have always had a keen interest in literature, film, and photography from a young age. Despite Kubrick’s renown as a filmmaker, he started out his career behind the camera with photography as a photographer for LOOK magazine between the late 1940s and early 1950s. Kubrick had been an official school photographer during high school and started making money after selling a series to LOOK magazine that was printed in 1945, becoming an apprentice at LOOK in 1946 and later a full staff photographer. Many of Kubrick’s works at this time heralded what was to come in his style as a director. One piece of 18 photographs showing people in a dental office exemplified Kubrick’s interest in individuals and their feelings in relatively uninteresting settings.

Later Kubrick began photographing boxing matches for LOOK, in the late 1940s, as a boxing enthusiast himself. Credited with his ability to create an atmosphere with his imagery, he was soon also assigned to photograph jazz musicians such as  Frank Sinatra and George Lewis. During Kubricks time as a photographer, he began to frequent film screenings, scrutinizing what he saw, he became obsessed with filmmaking. Later he is said to have been deeply influenced by the camera work of Max Olphüls and the skillful control of actors by Elia Kazan.

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