The Museum of the City of New York has unveiled an online collection of ~5000 of Stanley Kubrick’s photos from his time on staff at LOOK magazine between 1945 and 1950. While not quite as easily searchable as Yale’s FSA project, there’s a lot of fun to be had just clicking from page to page. Small collections of Kubrick’s photography have been passed around on blogs over the years (here or here) but this collection includes 129 of the young Kubrick’s assignments. And while only about 5,000 of the images are online now, the collection totals about 15,000 pictures. Oh, and you can order pretty affordable prints from the collection.
Between 1945 and 1950, Stanley Kubrick worked as a staff photographer for LOOK magazine. He was not yet Kubrick, the famous film director; he was just Stanley, the kid from the Bronx with an uncanny photographic sensibility. Only 17 years old when he joined the magazine’s ranks, he was by far its youngest photographer. Kubrick often turned his camera on his native city, drawing inspiration from the variety of personalities that populated its spaces. Photographs of nightclubs, street scenes, and sporting events were amongst his first published images, and in these assignments, Kubrick captured the pathos of ordinary life in a way that belied his young age. The Museum’s collection contains 129 of Kubrick’s assignments for the magazine, encompassing more than 15,000 individual images, the vast majority of them never published.
If you want to see the influence of Kubrick’s photography in his films, you’d do well to find a copy of his early noir The Killing. IMDB has a few stills to give an idea of the look of the film.
In July of 2008, the project had finally moved in to the McDonald’s and in November of that year, the team announced the successful recovery of a 1966 photo of the Earth rising as seen from the moon’s surface. In fact, it was the first photo taken of the Earth from the moon. To recover the image, the team found the last set of tapes containing the data and restored 1960s-era tape drives to operational condition using both original and modern parts. There’s also a brief explanation of how the 1966 photo was taken.
You can see a comparison of the original image and the recovered image below.
The team has an actively updated website about the project called Moonviews, which includes information about recovered pictures. They started by working to recover and restore images from the 5 Lunar Orbiter missions flown between 1966 and 1967. The first three of these missions were done to identify and survey potential landing sites for the subsequent Apollo moon missions, while the last two were of a more scientific nature. The posts at the Moonviews website are fascinating. In this piece about a Lunar Orbiter image last seen 47 years ago, there’s some detail about the method by which photos were sent back from the moon.
And while we’re on the subject of lunar photos, computer graphics card manufacturer NVIDIA just released an odd little video that debunks moon landing conspiracy theorists by modeling the lighting in the well-known shot of Buzz Aldrin leaving the Apollo 11 Lunar Module. Aldrin appears to be illuminated from the side opposite the sun, but there were no other light sources on the moon. The engineers recreated the shot in a computer model and analyzed other footage available, eventually realizing that Neil Armstrong’s white spacesuit worked as a reflector in the image.
I never realized it until reading this New Yorker piece, but I have absolutely no idea about what the World Trade Center might have looked like on the inside. The only images that come to mind are of the Twin Towers standing, exploding, falling, or being jumped from. As described in Take Picture, a Talk of the Town piece in this week’s New Yorker, a young Estonian immigrant named Konstantin Petrov worked at Windows on the World, the restaurant at the top of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, and was an avid photographer.
Working the night shift, he’d take pictures with a point-and-shoot in the hallways and offices of the towers and of the banquet halls and dining room sitting empty and ready for the next day’s customers. It’s an odd little piece of photography that fills in a piece of my personal geography that I didn’t even know needed filling. Petrov worked the night of September 10th, and started driving home a little after 8am on the 11th. He noticed some debris as he was leaving, but didn’t know what happened until he’d gotten home. His pictures from inside the towers, some uploaded as late as August 2001, and from after the attack, are available on Petrov’s Fotki site, last updated around 12 years ago. A number of the images were used in a National Geographic documentary, 9/10: The Final Hours. This image seems to be a self-portrait of Petrov.
On the subject of images from inside the World Trade Center, seek out the documentary 9/11 (IMDB) by French filmmakers Jules and Gedeon Naudet and FDNY firefighter James Hanlon. The filmmakers had been following young firefighters in the Engine 7/Ladder 1/Battalion 1 Firehouse on Duane Street in Lower Manhattan for several months; the firehouse was one of the closest to the World Trade Center site. The filmmakers were there gathering footage on the morning of September 11th, and were among the first people on the scene after the first crash. Their footage in the documentary is the only video taken that morning from inside the Twin Towers. That footage, as papers and bodies fall to the ground outside the towers, is chilling.
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