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Before “Dr. Strangelove” and “A Clockwork Orange,” the future film director had his eyes wide open as a wandering staff shooter for “Look” magazine.

Before Stanley Kubrick went on to cinematic acclaim directing films about hotels and space travel (which, to a travel editor, were the memorable themes of The Shining and 2001: A Space Odyssey, thank you), he spent five years as a staff photographer for Look magazine, roaming the streets of New York City with his camera. 

Beginning in 1945 when he was just 17 years old, Kubrick took photographs of real New Yorkers, on gritty subway platforms, at deli counters, in the crowd at a boxing match, in Broadway theater dressing rooms. His photos, usually candid, often hint at stories—the faces of the flirting couple or old men or tough kids somehow convey backstories, passions, and aspirations—so his still photography anticipates Kubrick’s success as a filmmaker. 

A show of his photographs for Look, Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs, will be on view at the Museum of the City of New York from May 3 to October 28, 2018. More than 100 photographs map Kubrick’s journey from tough Bronx teen to accomplished visual storyteller.

Museum of the City of New York is at 1220 Fifth Avenue (at 103rd Street) and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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