ARTS: Kubrick in Black & White ; A Fascinating New Book Reveals That, before Turning to Movies, Stanley Kubrick Was a Gifted Professional " If Self-Taught" Photographer, Writes Charlotte Cripps
Cripps, Charlotte, The Independent (London, England)
How can it be that hundreds of photographs by the great film director Stanley Kubrick have remained buried in dusty archives until now? Long before Kubrick (1928-1999) made his films, he was actually a staff photographer for the New York-based Look magazine. And while doing his job, snapping daily life and celebrities, he was already developing the cinematic style that would later inform his films.
These early photographs by Kubrick " only about 20 per cent of a total of 12,000 negatives were published in Look " were all taken from 1945- 1950. But had it not been for Rainer Crone, Professor of 20th-Century Art and Media at Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich, painstakingly unearthing and sifting through all the negatives to produce Stanley Kubrick: Drama & Shadows, this side of the film director may have stayed in the shadows.
Kubrick was given a Graflex camera by his father on his 13th birthday, and at 17 he was sent on photographic assignments for Look. His photographs, whether of people on the subway, the boxer Rocky Graziano, the socialite Betsy von Frstenberg, or a Portuguese fishing village, go beyond photojournalism 'to reach an almost theatrical quality', writes Crone. It was in 1988 that Crone first wrote a letter to Kubrick to ask him where all his photographs were. He had already bought all of the back issues of Look, where Kubrick's photographs, Crone felt, were 'never judged for their unique visionary quality'.
'Kubrick phoned me back,' says Crone. …