1949 Chicago: A City Of Extremes Photographed By Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick was just seventeen when he sold his first photograph to Look Magazine and just twenty-one when he took these photos of Chicago.

Chicago 1949

Stanley Kubrick was just seventeen when he sold his first photograph to Look Magazine – a less classy version of Life. Mildred Stagg interviewed Kubrick for The Camera magazine three years later, looking at the his photographic methods. She wrote, “Regardless of what he saw, he couldn’t shoot until the car stopped in a station because of the motion and vibration… Kubrick used a Contex [camera] and took the pictures at 1/8 second. The lack of light tripled the time needed for development.”

In another interview this time with Michael Ciment, Stanley Kubrick said “I worked with Look Magazine from the age of seventeen to twenty-one. It was a miraculous thing for me to get this job after graduation from high school. I owe a lot to the then picture editor Helen O’Brian and the managing editor Jack Guenther. This experience was invaluable to me not only because I learned a lot about photography, but also because it gave me a quick education in how things happened in the world.”

 

* These featured photos were accompanied by an essay by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Irv Kupcinet which dealt with social and economic contrasts that, in Kup’s view, defined the city at the time. Many of the photos featured weren’t published in Look at the time but can be found in the archives of the Library of Congress.

People arriving at a Chicago theater Stanley Kubrick

People arriving at a Chicago theater for show starring, in person, Jack Carson, Marion Hutton, and Robert Alda. Photo by Stanley Kubrick.

Stanley Kubrick Showgirl

Stanley Kubrick captures himself in a dressing room mirror with showgirl Rosemary Williams.

We’ve previously showcased some of his work here.

Stanley Kubrick Look magazine 1949

Fashion models

Stanley Kubrick Look magazine 1949

Lingerie model, wearing a girdle and strapless bra, smoking in an office; in the background a woman sits at a desk

Stanley Kubrick Look magazine 1949

Overhead view of the “L” elevated railway in Chicago

Stanley Kubrick Look magazine 1949

View from above of automobile and pedestrians on street below the “L” elevated railway in Chicago, Illinois

Stanley Kubrick Look magazine 1949

Steel worker Stanley Kubrick Look Magazine

Steel worker standing in mill with smelter in the background, in Chicago, Illinois

Stanley Kubrick steel worker Chicago

Steel worker in mill as molten steel spills from vat, in Chicago, Illinois

Kubrick Smelter in a steel mill, Chicago, Illinois

Stanley Kubrick Chicago Board of Trade

Chicago Board of Trade

 

 

Stanley Kubrick Look magazine 1949

Men working the floor at the Chicago Board of trade

Men working the floor at the Chicago Board of Trade

Men working the floor at the Chicago Board of Trade

Stanley Kubrick Look magazine 1949

 

 

Stanley Kubrick Look magazine 1949

Racks of meat in cold storage in a meat locker

Stanley Kubrick Look magazine 1949

Spectators at a wrestling match in Chicago

Watching Gorgeous George

Watching Gorgeous George

Stanley Kubrick Look magazine 1949

Gorgeous George

Stanley Kubrick Look Magazine 1949

Two men wrestling with a referee nearby

Gorgeous George and another man wrestling in Chicago

Stanley Kubrick, Look magazine 1949

oung boy, half-length portrait, seated at desk, in classroom in Chicago, Illinois