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Show and Tell: Kubrick's New York

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Amusements in the Palisades Park (June 24, 1946).  

The late Stanley Kubrick filmed outer space, ancient Rome, Vietnam, and the view from a nuclear missile, but when the filmmaker first looked through a viewfinder, he saw New York. Kubrick’s eye—and the rest of him—was born in the Bronx, where he taught himself photography. By 17, Kubrick was working at Look magazine, chronicling the city’s late-forties boom, from the Copacabana to the boxing ring. Stanley Kubrick: Drama and Shadows (Phaidon Press, November 15) collects the young photographer’s best work, and it’s a record of the city’s characters: Columbia professors, artists in their galleries, showgirls onstage, musicians, park-bench buddies, subway riders, even the legendary Rocky Graziano. (Not to mention a girl at Jersey’s Palisades Park.) Everywhere, you see Kubrick’s brio and his satiric bent—as in 1946’s“Observing People Observing Monkeys” series, taken inside monkey cages, in which zoo visitors stare blankly through the metal bars, decades before Kubrick filmed his famous 2001 ape-man sequence.


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