April 23, 2021

"Kubrick the nudnik is here again."

I'm reading "Kubrick’s Human Comedy/Though Stanley Kubrick was often characterized as icy, his life and filmography reveal that his heart was as large as his mind" (NYRB): 

When [his high school friend] asked Stanley why he didn’t do his own assignments, he got this placid reply: “I’m not interested.” 

What did interest him was the Graflex single-lens high-speed camera his father had given him for his thirteenth birthday, with which he learned to capture crisp images of subjects in motion. Soon he was spending hours in the darkroom in the apartment of another friend, whose mother was heard to complain, “Kubrick the nudnik is here again.” 

The nudnik first sold a photo, of a downcast news vendor surrounded by tabloid headlines announcing the death of FDR, at age seventeen to Look magazine. Over the next five years Look used his images in 135 articles 

You can see many of the Look photographs — including the downcast news vendor — here (at The New Criterion)("A 1949 shoot at Columbia University includes a photo of three physicists standing atop a massive particle accelerator, as well as that of a laboratory scientist handling a glowing rod reflected in his dark, circular glasses; neither image is extricable from thoughts of Dr. Strangelove").


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