Many years before Stanley Kubrick became one of the most acclaimed film directors of all time (famous for such masterpieces as Dr Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, and Full Metal Jacket), he was known for something else: photographing humans of New York. He particularly liked to photograph people in the subway system, the lifeline of the city.
Amazingly, his first photographic work was published in 1945 when he was just 16, and over the course of the next seven years, he completed more than 100 assignments comprising some 15,000 photos for LOOK magazine (at the time, a competitor to LIFE magazine). He was by far the magazine's youngest photographer, and his relationship with the LOOK ended only when, at age 23, he began making films in earnest.
His photographs capture beautiful though prosaic sides of an era often romanticised in the U.S., giving us an intimate window into the everyday lives of New Yorkers. And what an eye he has! I'm deeply impressed. If anything, I think I like his street photography more than his cinematography!
If you'd like to see more, The Museum of the City of New York contains a wonderful online archive of Kubrick's photographs (the vast majority of them never published).
"I think aesthetically recording spontaneous action, rather than carefully posing a picture, is the most valid and expressive use of photography," Stanley Kubrick said. Maybe the statement wasn't earth-shaking, but it startled me. The boy who said that had turned 19 a week ago. - Mildred Stagg, "Camera", 1948