May 30, 2011

"Before he started making movies, Stanley Kubrick was a star photojournalist."

"In the summer of 1949, Look magazine sent him to Chicago to shoot pictures for a story called 'Chicago City of Contrasts.'"

City of Contrasts... what a horrible travel-book cliché. I'm assuming it already was a horrible cliché in 1949. But check out the thrilling photographs! I love the smoking (literally) lingerie model:

52 comments:

nevadabob said...

" ... love the smoking (literally) lingerie model."

Holy cow. Her bulge is bigger than Anthony Weiner's.

Compare and contrast.

edutcher said...

Talk about a world vanished in the mists of time.

Thank you, Democrats.

Thank you, public sector unions.

PS One of the commodities traders looks like a white Barry Soetoro.

nevadabob said...

Compare and vote ... who has the bigger package: this random Chicago broad or Anthony Weiner?

http://img195.imageshack.us/img195/5373/whosed.jpg

Sixty Grit said...
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No Name said...

Mom?

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Holy cow. Her bulge is bigger than Anthony Weiner's.

nevadabob, I suspect that Peter Iron Rails Iron Weights may be about to chime in about that . . .

HKatz said...

The baby doing pull-ups is the best one.

rcocean said...

Fascinating. All ready you can see that Kubrick had nothing really interesting to say, but had a a great eye. I've seen similar shots in Film-noir movies. Whether Kubrick was copying them or anticipating them, I don't know.

The Crack Emcee said...

Outstanding.

I like them all, but the one with the black kids is especially effective. It got a physical reaction out me, and that's rare.

Sixty Grit said...
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deborah said...

Excellent. I love the first one.

Carol said...

Back then if something wasn't a cliché, it was suspect.

rhhardin said...

Larger version on Shorpy.

ironrailsironweights said...

Let's not forget that Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick's final work, also featured a number of full-flavor women.

Peter

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

The sex life of the camel
Is stranger than you think.
One night in the African desert,
He tried to screw the Sphinx.
But the Sphinx's posterior entry
Was clogged by the sands of the Nile,
Which accounts for the hump of the camel
And the Sphinx's inscrutable smile.



Toes? Not so much, but a good start.

fivewheels said...

I walk past that intersection (State and Lake) every day. It's interesting to see what it used to look like. The Chicago Theater still looks great lit up at night.

deborah said...

Eyes Wide Shut was widely dogged. Did anyone here like it?

ricpic said...

All ready you see that Kubrick had nothing really interesting to say, but had a great eye.

That's a very perceptive comment. Kubrick's photographs capture the very purposeful, tightly disciplined and energetic middle class life that dominated a great American city at mid-century. It was a hard life that millions lived but also one with modest pleasures, comforts really, the greatest comfort being that the way you lived was the way millions lived, it was our way of life.

Palladian said...
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rhhardin said...

I'd wait for Trooper York for final judgment, but I'd say the bra is painfully the wrong size.

Palladian said...

"Eyes Wide Shut was widely dogged. Did anyone here like it?"

I did, and not just because Kubrick is my favorite filmmaker. The problem many people had with "Eyes Wide Shut" is that the retarded media pushed it as a racy sex movie when in fact it's quite the opposite. People went to the film anticipating a gritty, steamy, Hollywood-style sex-based relationship drama featuring Tom & Nicole, and instead they got an ice-cold fin de siècle meditation on power, money, decadence and human alienation. Tom Cruise's character is a "mere" pawn moving slowly and naively across a chess board filled with kings & queens. Hell, a lot of people hated it because they thought it was an "inaccurate" depiction of New York City or that it was "unrealistic", when it wasn't meant to be an geographically accurate or realistic depiction at all.

People went in expecting Eros and got Thanatos instead.

deborah said...

Nor is it the ideal style.

deborah said...

Thanks, Pall...have you considered being a film critic :)

I'll try to watch it sometime.

Do you think the fact that they were married in real life contributed anything meta?
(I read a review that remarked on something like that.)

bagoh20 said...

Sorry, but I see nothing exceptional there. Routine pics that don't really give me any sense of the place or the time. They all seem flat and untextured. The black kids are the best, but anyone with a camera could have caught that. I see better all the time from non-artistic and amateur sources. IMHO

David said...

The baby doing the chinup was pretty cool, but the rest are all copycat stuff.

Popville said...

The photo following the one Altou.se features is much more interesting, in a Magnum (Burk Uzzle/Richard Avedon) sorta way.

Another view of Chicago, from a street photographer stumbled upon long after her death: Vivian Maier. Not terribly unlike fave photog Paul Strand and maybe Robert Frank. Followers aka Elliott Erwitt, Jeff Mermelstein, etc could could dream of shots like these.

Cheers - pv

Popville said...
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Popville said...

Apologies, now link friendly.

These are the sort of photos that remind me of Strand:

Strand-like #1

Strand-like #2

And Frank:

Frank-like #1

Frank-like #2

deborah said...

Popville, the Maier photos are great, but the Kubrick's somehow speak to me more... the nostalgia just pulls at my heartstrings. Is it the grittiness? The developing? The angles?

I think the thing I'll appreciate most at the new site is automatic link conversion!

Darleen said...

LOVE B&W photography.

The one of the "Pump Room" where the chef is carving prime rib tableside ...

Come to SoCal and experience it exactly that way at Lawry's. Closet you can get to a time-machine.

Palladian said...
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Palladian said...

It's terribly unfair to critique these images as if they were photographs, or to compare them to other photographer's work, because most of them are not printed photographs, they're Library of Congress scans of Kubrick's contact sheets. A contact sheet is what you make to decide which negatives you want to actually print. The photographer places the negatives directly against a sheet of photographic paper, sandwiches both under glass and exposes it to light from the enlarger. The contact print is then developed and, using a magnifying lens, the photographer can judge each negative and figure out which ones to actually enlarge and print. This is why so many of these images are dusty and scratched-looking (probably artifacts of the contact sheet making glass, which is often rather beat-up because many photographers don't really care that much about producing pristine contact sheets). It's also why most of these images are presented as full-frames showing the film perforations; that's how contact sheets look.

Contact sheets are everything that was shot in the roll of film, and if you're a street photographer/photojournalist, that's going to include a lot of shots that don't turn out they way you want them to.

Part of what makes photography an art is that the photographer must choose which of his images is worthy of printing, and then actually print them, which usually involves a lot of aesthetic decisions such as cropping, exposure, dodging/burning parts of the image during darkroom exposure to manipulate contrast. The final print is what shows the artistry of a photographer. Judging a photographer from unselected scans of their contact sheets is sort of like watching the unedited rushes of a film and declaring that it's not a good movie.

If you want to see Kubrick's photography in a much fairer context, get this book.

victoria said...

He was a great photog before embarking on an exceptional movie career. He had an visual eye that was stunning. Best, got to be 2001 and "A Clockwork Orange". My faves. Took may daughter on a day off from school, when she was in the 7th grade, to see 2001 at a dingy,dark, dank theater in Los Angeles. (Bet you didn't think we had any). It was a total revelation for her and amazing for me. I hadn't seen the film in probably 30 years. Ruins you for the films of today, not auteur involvement, no focus, no gorgeous excess.


Loved it, still love him.


Vicki from Pasadena

victoria said...

You want to go see some great photographs, go to this web site.

http://vivianmaier.blogspot.com/

This woman was a street photographer whose photos never saw the light of day until after she died. A collector bought about 500 rolls of her unexposed film, developed some of it and found amazing photos of people on the streets of Chicago. Some of the pictures actually moved me to tears.


Vicki from Pasadena

deborah said...

Another great art lesson...thanks, Palladian.

chickenlittle said...

She sure blows a mushroom cloud of smoke.

I bet she could nuke the chrome off a bumper.

No Name said...

Eyes Wide Shut had a lot of fur and early morning dew.

Palladian said...

"Thanks, Pall...have you considered being a film critic :)"

Haha, no, since I hate most movies that I'm forced to watch :)

"Do you think the fact that they were married in real life contributed anything meta?

(I read a review that remarked on something like that.)"

Absolutely. I think this was a lot of the reason Kubrick cast them. I also think Cruise's involvement in Scientology may have played a part in casting him in the role as well.

Interestingly, Kubrick originally wrote the male lead with Harrison Ford in mind, but by the time the film was actually produced, Ford was too old to convincingly play the part, so Kubrick named Cruise's character "Dr Harford"...

I forgot to mention before, "Eyes Wide Shut" was an adaptation by Kubrick and co-writer Frederic Raphael of a 1926 novella called "Traumnovelle" by Austrian author and friend of Sigmund Freud Arthur Schnitzler. I believe it's crucial to understand this novel as the source of the film to appreciate what Kubrick was doing. "Eyes Wide Shut" is absolutely thick with visual ideas, allusions to history and literature, psychological allegories and philosophical questions that it's difficult to take all of it in. The wonderful thing is that it's possible to "get" all of this, in a sense, just through the amazing photography. An extraordinary amount of insight can be gained merely by noticing the presence (and absence) of Christmas trees...

Popville said...
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Penny said...

"An extraordinary amount of insight can be gained merely by noticing the presence (and absence) of Christmas trees..."

Funny you mention this. I was wondering where that model intended to out her cigarette. No ashtrays in sight.

William said...

Life and Look were still in business when I was growing up. This was before the invention of sex. As I remember it, Life would occasionally feature articles about art. These articles nearly always featured naked women as drawn by great artists of the past. The pictures were in full color and were much hotter than the art photography books of the day. Those made naked women look like sand dunes. Life had many informative articles about Goya and Rubens. ....My memory is fuzzy here, but I recall Look would throw a few cheesecake photos in with the photojournalism. Kubrick's lingerie model now looks like something out of Diane Arbus. But my guess is that back then the photo had some prurient interest. Bullet tits were all the rage and nobody minded a little roll of fat......What doesn't change: artists think that there is some lesson to be learned, some causal chain to be established, some moral to be illuminated by juxtaposing pictures of the wealthy and well fed against pictures of the poor and the needy.

AST said...

Reminds me of a joke my dad used to tell, "Wouldn't you like to see HER in a tight sweater?"

reader_iam said...

Palladian:

!!!!!!!

AST said...

I used to wonder why they were called "foundation garments." That picture clears that up.

Almost Ali said...

The kids, their bowls empty. Life can be starkly hard on the little ones, and it often is.

Methadras said...

deborah said...

Eyes Wide Shut was widely dogged. Did anyone here like it?


I didn't like it. It was banal and gratiutious. Why anyone thinks Tom Cruise is a good actor is beyond me. I think Kubric really wanted Nicole Kidman, but Cruise came with the package.

John said...

Actually the secretary in the cat eye glasses with the exasperated look is the much more compelling figure in the photograph. You definitely get the sense that the model is not the kind of girl that is accepted in polite society and the secretary is letting her know it. When I first say the picture I thought it was some kind of police booking photo with the matron taking down the woman in her underwear's information after searching her.

MrBuddwing said...

Palladian wrote: The problem many people had with "Eyes Wide Shut" is that the retarded media pushed it as a racy sex movie when in fact it's quite the opposite.

Stephen Hunter of The Washington Post came up with what I thought was a very funny take on EYES WIDE SHUT - he called it "the dirtiest movie of 1958."

But I like your insight, too.

WV: bagoe.

deborah said...

Thanks, again, Palladian...lots of great stuff there.

Thanks, Meth.

David R. Graham said...

Stanley was perverted, bent. Didn't Kidman say as much in reference to his re-shooting a particular scene over and over just so he could watch her? My memory is vague but I seem to recall something from her along those lines.

Certainly I worship at the altar of Dr. Strangelove, but after that, already dark, he went perverse, making up things and giving pornography its head.

deborah said...

I hadn't heard the Kidman story, but I read something about Shelly Duval being made to shoot a particular scene over and over until she got it. I think she said he was very tough, but demanded her best.

Also, I once read a very short piece, written in the first person, about lunching with Kubrick, who made a big deal about not wanting Dr. Harford to be perceived/assumed Jewish, and then went on to say something to the effect that people were out to get the Jews.

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