• through_the _lens_stanley_kubrick_skirball_exhibition
  • through_the _lens_stanley_kubrick_skirball_exhibition
  • through_the _lens_stanley_kubrick_skirball_exhibition
  • through_the _lens_stanley_kubrick_skirball_exhibition
Stanley Kubrick. Rosemary Williams: Showgirl. 1949. Museum of the City of New York. The Look Collection. Used with permission of Museum of the City of New York and SK Film Archives.
Stanley Kubrick. A Dog's Life in the Big City. 1949. Museum of the City of New York. The Look Collection. Used with permission of Museum of the City of New York and SK Film Archives.
Stanley Kubrick. Life and Love on the New York City Subway. 1947. Museum of the City of New York. The Look Collection. © Museum of the City of New York and SK Film Archives.
Stanley Kubrick. Faye Emerson: Young Lady in Hurry. 1950. Museum of the City of New York. The Look Collection. Used with permission of Museum of the City of New York and SK Film Archives.

    Through a different lens: Stanley Kubrick at the Skirball

    05 November 2019

    Los Angeles,

    By Katja Schmolka @katjaschmolka

    Moments of eternity captured with one click - Film Noir, black & white, shapes and angles, intimate human relationships, drama and love, everyday life and glitz & glamour are the canvas of which Stanley Kubrick crafted his photo essays, starting out as ambitious 16-year-old at Look Magazine in New York in 1945. Kubrick’s work at Look Magazine became a stepping stone - transcending his gained on-hand experience as a photojournalist, strong visual style into his marvellous picturesque epochal movies like 2001: Space Odyssey (1968) and The Shining.

    The Skirball Cultural Center opened its doors, showcasing “Through a different lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs.” The exhibition has been passionately put together in hundreds of hours, sifting through roughly 50,000 negatives of Stanley Kubrick’s work. Put together into different themes by the Museum of the City of New York in collaboration with the SK Film Archives LLC. First, with the idea in mind to publish a book of Stanley Kubrick images with its fascinating life stories shining through them. The 130 exhibited photographs are drawn from the museum’s vast Look Magazine archive with over 50,000 negatives of Kubrick’s images. Most of them remained unpublished. “It started about eight years ago with the idea to publish a book about Stanley Kubrick’s body of work, said Curator Sean Corcoran during the press preview in the exhibition hall of the Skirball.

    The legend, Stanley Kubrick, began one day at the age of 16 in 1946 in New York City when he sold his first photograph to Look Magazine. Kubrick captured the image of a dejected newsstand vendor the day after the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Intrigued by the intimate language of Kubrick’s photographs, Look commissioned the young man to do many assignments over the course of years, which opened the doors to the real human world and real-life stories - the fabric for Stanley Kubrick’s later movies. 

    Tucked away behind the lens of his camera, Kubrick would drift into New York’s night scene to shadow-show girls dressed in sexy glitter & glamour dresses performing in exclusive night clubs, to then also portray these same girls in their tiny simple apartments where they had barely any luxury at all. It’s the contrasts that fascinated Stanley Kubrick, the wild and luxurious - and the gritty and drama. In his kaleidoscopic view of everyday people’s lives and celebrities as well, Stanley Kubrick observed moments of human drama and joy with every fibre of his being, eternalising these through his lens with a click to shine trough rectangles called negatives.

    His photojournalistic journey at Look lay the profound artistic foundation for the young aspiring, soon-to-be Hollywood’s most celebrated movie director with iconic movies under his belt as “Dr. Strangelove (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), and The Shining (1980).”

    The exhibition introduces visitors to four key themes that transformed Stanley Kubrick’s early work as a journalistic photographer transforming into a legendary movie director always drawing back on his experience of being a photographer.

    Looking - Kubrick’s job at Look Magazine opened his ways of seeing, and also his fascination with human relationships.

    Mastering the system - During the Post-War time, Stanley Kubrick volunteered at many organisations, which helped him understand the business in the motion picture industry.

    Media Savvy - Through his assignments of Look Magazine on media and entertainment-accompanying celebrities, Kubrick was exposed to the way famous people crafted their public personas. He had also been introduced to the customs on set.

    Visual Style - Kubrick admired hugely Weegee’s (a famous street photographer & photojournalist at this time) photojournalistic way of photographing people using bold contrasts in black and white colours in his photographs, which Stanley Kubrick imitated for his own work, even so in his moving images. The mystic style of the Hollywood film noirs counted as another important piece of the puzzle in Stanley Kubricks visual style and took a shine on the young American photographer.

    Kubrick-the-photographer and Kubrick-the-director; a fascinating visual story of America’s most prolific movie visual storyteller of all times.

    The exhibition Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs are accompanied by a 332-page large-format book published by TASCHEN in 2018. The book’s authors are the curators of the exhibition—Donald Albrecht, MCNY Curator of Architecture and Design, and Sean Corcoran, MCNY Curator of Prints and Photographs—as well as writer and critic Luc Sante. The book is available for sale at Audrey’s Museum Store at the Skirball.

    Through a different lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs on view until March 8, 2020 at the Skirball Center, Los Angeles





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