Tag Archives: Stanley Kubrick

Books and the City

New Yorkers love to read. Whether it’s just for a stolen moment at work…

James Godbold for LOOK Magazine. Night Clubs- Copa Showgirls [Showgirl reading backstage.] 1950. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.12052.14.

James Godbold for LOOK Magazine. Night Clubs- Copa Showgirls [Showgirl reading backstage.] 1950. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.12052.14.

or enjoying (or hoping that whatever we’re reading will distract us from) our subway commute…

Stanley Kubrick for LOOK Magazine. 1946. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11107.53B.

Stanley Kubrick for LOOK Magazine. 1946. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11107.53B.

or as a handy prop when eating at a restaurant alone (as prizefighter Walter Cartier does)…

Stanley Kubrick for LOOK Magazine. Walter Cartier, Prizefighter of Greenwich Village [Walter Cartier eating in a restaurant.]. 1948. X2011.4.11122.88D.

Stanley Kubrick for LOOK Magazine. Walter Cartier, Prizefighter of Greenwich Village [Walter Cartier eating in a restaurant.]. 1948. X2011.4.11122.88D.

and, of course, in true New Yorker fashion, wherever we feel like it…

John Albok (1894-1982). Boy reading comics in front of newspaper store, west side of Madison Avenue between 96th and 97th Streets. 1933-1934. Museum of the City of New York. 82.68.11.

John Albok (1894-1982). Boy reading comics in front of newspaper store, west side of Madison Avenue between 96th and 97th Streets. 1933-1934. Museum of the City of New York. 82.68.11.

or, much more comfortably, lying in bed (furry friends optional).

Stanley Kubrick for LOOK Magazine. A Dog's Life in the Big City [Women reading in bed with dogs.] 1949. X2011.4.12306.245

Stanley Kubrick for LOOK Magazine. A Dog’s Life in the Big City [Women reading in bed with dogs.] 1949.Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.12306.245.

However, in the decades since these pictures were taken, the nature of reading has changed. Kindles, iPads, and even games featuring annoyed fowl compete for our attention, and the commercial landscape of New York City is shifting because of this.

As of last Friday, Rizzoli’s Bookstore has been pushed out of its beautiful 57th Street location. Shakespeare & Company lost their lease on their Broadway storefront last week. St. Mark’s Bookshop is looking for another East Village location due to a massive rent increase. And it’s not just independent bookstores that are feeling the pressure: the Barnes and Noble on 18th Street and 5th Avenue closed quietly last year along with five Borders locations in the city when the parent company went bankrupt.  It seems like a good time to look back at some of the bookstores that have made the city uniquely literary.

At the turn of the last century, Greenwich Village was a bohemian’s paradise. Artists, writers, and hangers-on flocked to the area around Washington Square. The Washington Square Bookshop, run by Egmont Arens (pictured below), was the place for all the original downtown literati’s needs. Arens also established a small publishing company within the store where he published plays  like Two Blind Beggars and One Less Blind; A Tragic Comedy by Philip Moeller and other fare for the Washington Square Players.

Jessie Tarbox Beals. Washington Square Bookshop, 17 West 8th Street. ca. 1910. Museum of the City of New York. 91.53.19.

Jessie Tarbox Beals. Washington Square Bookshop, 17 West 8th Street. ca. 1918. Museum of the City of New York. 91.53.19.

In the 1920’s, 4th Avenue between Astor Place and 14th Street was the mecca for secondhand books. More than 30 stores specializing in rare, out-of-print, or merely used books lined the streets, earning the area the moniker “Bookseller’s Row”  or sometimes simply “Book Row”.

Andreas Feininger (1906-1999). Secondhand bookstores on Lower Fourth Avenue. ca. 1941-1953. Museum of the City of New York. 55.31.70.

What makes Weiser’s Bookstore (pictured above) unique, however, besides the fact that it was a mainstay of Bookseller’s Row (until it had to move to Broadway in the 1950’s due to increased rent), is that it was known as the best occult bookstore in the city.  But what’s even better is that it still exists…granted, only for established customers with prior appointments, but for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to be on that list, they do have an online store.

Another mainstay of Bookseller’s Row was Biblo-Tannen book store where  owners Jack Tannen and Jack Biblo would legendarily sleep at the store to make sure they were the first ones to go the Salvation Army’s warehouse to find the latest overlooked treasures. That kind of dedication made people like Carl Sandburg loyal customers. The store closed in 1979.

Roy Perry. Browsing at Second Hand Bookstalls, Ninth Street and Fourth Avenue. ca. 1940. Museum of the City of New York. 80.102.136.

Roy Perry. Browsing at Second Hand Bookstalls, Ninth Street and Fourth Avenue. ca. 1940. Museum of the City of New York. 80.102.136.

The decline of Bookseller’s Row started in the 1960’s due to constant rent increases and since the secondhand (or even firsthand) book industry has never been lucrative, the end was fairly quick.  Now only two vestiges of Bookseller’s  Row remain: The Strand and Alabaster Bookshop.

While Bookseller’s Row was browsing heaven for bibliophiles, there were, of course, other options. Brentano’s,  Gotham Book Mart, Books and Company and the Oscar Wilde Bookshop were just some of mainstays that provided for every literary need of New Yorkers.

New York was (and still is) a publishing city where the biggest publishing companies have their corporate offices. For many years Doubleday, Scribner’s, and Barnes and Noble had brick and mortar stores lining Fifth Avenue, offering “a cerebral antidote to Tiffany’s glitter and Bergdorf’s finery,” as the Times put it. These stores were architecturally unique, airy, and had a sense of grandeur that some may have found the secondhand bookstores downtown lacking.

The elegant Scribner’s Building on Fifth Avenue was the pinnacle of bookstore architecture. Ernest Flagg designed the 1913 building to highlight its function as a bookstore. In 1974 art critic Henry Russell Hitchcock, comparing the bookstore’s interiors to Grand Central Terminal, called them “the grandest interior space that had been created in New York.” Earning it extra literary cred is the story that Hemingway and his editor were having a discussion there when his editor unwisely questioned Hemingway’s manhood. Words were exchanged, chest hair was exposed, and because it was Hemingway, fisticuffs ensued. (For a delightful account, click here.) Decades later, a young Patti Smith pored over art books during her lunch break during the five years she was a book clerk there. Scribner’s sold the building in 1988; the store is now a Sephora.

Edmund V. Gillon. [Charles Scribner's Sons Building, 597 Fifth Avenue.] ca. 1977. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.2.2001

Edmund V. Gillon. [Charles Scribner's Sons Building, 597 Fifth Avenue.] ca. 1977. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.2.2001

So next time you need a book to make your commute tolerable, go to your local neighborhood bookstore. You’ll be helping to save the literary history of New York City.

For more images of bookstores and New Yorkers reading, click here.

Prizefighters

If anyone had asked my opinion on boxing a few weeks ago, my response would have been tepid at best. I’d never really given the sport much thought. And yet I now find myself staying up way too late watching grainy videos of boxing matches and old ESPN documentaries about  famous boxers, discovering everything I can about New York’s  boxing world in the late 1940s through the 1950s. What caused this rapid change of heart?  Two words: Stanley Kubrick.

During Stanley Kubrick’s time at LOOK Magazine he photographed two stories about the daily life of boxers.  The first featured Walter Cartier in 1949 and the second Rocky Graziano in 1950. These boxers couldn’t have been more different, and tracing the careers of both highlights the spectrum of men who were lured to this sport.

Walter Cartier was born in the Bronx in 1922. He started boxing with his brothers at an early age (his twin brother Vincent would later be his trainer) and after World War II gained prominence  in boxing circles in New York City.  At the time that Kubrick shot the LOOK story, Cartier was a 24-year old rising fighter, known for being a precise, smart, intense middleweight boxer.  The article accompanying the photographs says that if, “the big purses elude him another year, he plans to quit the ring and attend law school.”  But the big fights came and for years he was constantly on the cusp of becoming the middleweight champion.  As an obituary reads, “Cartier was that handsome Bronx knockout kid who sold tickets. Here was a special kind of a fighter–clean living, loved being a boxer and always kept himself in shape.”

Below you can see the transformation from Walter Cartier, a typical young man living in Greenwich Village who goes on dates and plays with kids, to Walter Cartier the prizefighter.

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). Walter Cartier – Prizefighter of Greenwich Village . Walter Cartier eating in a restaurant. 1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11122.88D.

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). Walter Cartier – Prizefighter of Greenwich Village Walter Cartier and Dolores Germaine playing on a beach.1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11122.110E.

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) Walter Cartier – Prizefighter of Greenwich Village Girl holding a toy gun to Walter Cartier’s head.1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11122.155F.

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). Walter Cartier – Prizefighter of Greenwich Village Walter Cartier at a punching bag as Vincent Cartier and two other men watch.1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11122.51A.

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). Walter Cartier – Prizefighter of Greenwich Village Walter Cartier during a fight.1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11122.236.

Where Cartier was dedicated, focused, and meticulous, Kubrick’s next boxing subject was a knockout king – tough and brutal.

Rocky Graziano (born Thomas Rocco Barbella)  grew up in the East Village (10th Street and First Avenue to be exact) and was a complete product of the rough neighborhood.  By the time he was six years old, he had a reputation of being a good fighter.  Or as he put it, “I was the best street fighter in history when I was growing up on the Lower East Side. Hell, I never lost a street fight. Never.  I thought I could lick Jack Dempsey or Joe Louis or anybody.  I was fantastic.”  With a nasty habit of stealing, as he described it,  “everything that began with an  ‘a’ — a piece of fruit, a radio, a car, anything that wasn’t nailed down,”  it’s perhaps unsurprising that Graziano had stints in reform schools and later, in prison.  (For more fantastic quotes, see his New York Times obituary here.) After a dishonorable discharge from the Army for punching a supervising officer, he found himself back in New York City.  A friend,  hoping to find an outlet for Graziano’s aggression, took him to boxing mecca Stillman’s Gym.

Graziano originally viewed boxing as an easy source of cash – he notoriously hawked his first medal for $15 – but his natural talent led him to become the middleweight champion in 1946.  If this sounds familiar, it’s because Graziano’s life story was made into the 1956 film, Someone Up There Likes Me, starring a young Paul Newman.

As with  Walter Cartier, Kubrick’s focus is on the transformation of Rocky Graziano from loving family man to boxer. It should be noted, however, that this story came out after Graziano’s two-year suspension from professional boxing due to failure to report an attempted $100,000 bribe.

Stanley Kubrick(1928-1999).Rocky Graziano, He’s a Good Boy Now. Rocky Graziano eating breakfast with his family. 1949-1950. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.12284.71B.

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). Rocky Graziano, He’s a Good Boy Now. Rocky Graziano playing cards with friends. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.12284.16A.

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) Rocky Graziano, He’s a Good Boy Now. Rocky Graziano exercising. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.12284.46C.

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999).Rocky Graziano, He’s a Good Boy Now. Rocky Graziano. 1949-1950. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.12284.35B.

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999).Rocky Graziano, He’s a Good Boy Now. Man applying petroleum jelly to Rocky Graziano.1949-1950. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.12284.18B.

To see more of Walter Cartier, check out Stanley Kubrick’s first movie, the 16-minute Day of the Fight, which was inspired by the LOOK magazine story.

Both Cartier and Graziano continued to box through the mid-1950’s, after which they both tried their hands at acting, both securing steady roles in television shows. Walter Cartier performed in the Phil Silvers Show and Rocky Graziano co-starred in the Martha Raye Show.

Riding the Subway with Stanley Kubrick

As most New Yorkers know, the subway system is the lifeline of New York City.   In 1946 Stanley Kubrick set out as a staff photographer for LOOK Magazine to capture the story of New York City’s subway commuters.

Kubrick was not the first photographer to depict the New York City subway.  In 1938 Walker Evans shot many amazing portraits of unknowing riders with a camera hidden in his coat. This may have influenced Kubrick’s work. This Kubrick  image is a very “shot from the hip,” Walker Evans-style portrait.

Stanley Kubrick. Life and Love on the New York City Subway. Passengers in a subway car. 1946. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10292.26C

As you can see below, with the exception of iPods and smart phones, activities on the train haven’t changed much in the last 66 years, including shoving one’s newspaper in everyone else’s faces.

Stanley Kubrick. Life and Love on the New York City Subway. Passengers reading in a subway car. 1946. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10292.30D

Stanley Kubrick. Life and Love on the New York City Subway. Passengers in a subway car. 1946. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10292.55E

Stanley Kubrick. Life and Love on the New York City Subway. Passengers in a subway car. 1946. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10292.52B

Stanley Kubrick. Life and Love on the New York City Subway. Woman knitting on a subway. 1946. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11107.16

Stanley Kubrick. Life and Love on the New York City Subway. People on escalators in a subway station. 1946. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10292.61C

Stanley Kubrick. Life and Love on the New York City Subway. Woman waiting on a subway platform. 1946. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10292.81B

Stanley Kubrick. Life and Love on the New York City Subway. Women in a subway car. 1946. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10292.11E

Stanley Kubrick. Life and Love on the New York City Subway. Men sleeping in a subway car. 1946. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10292.73C

Although it is now claimed that chivalry is dead, it was definitely waning in 1946.

Stanley Kubrick. Life and Love on the New York City Subway. Passengers in a subway car. 1946. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10292.56E

BUT romance still thrived on some trains.

Stanley Kubrick. Life and Love on the New York City Subway. Couple playing footsies on a subway. 1946. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10292.90E

Stanley Kubrick. Life and Love on the New York City Subway. Man carrying flowers on a crowded subway. 1946. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10292.37C

Here is an explanation from Kubrick about how he took these photographs:

“I wanted to retain the mood of the subway, so I used natural light,” he said. People who ride the subway late at night are less inhibited than those who ride by day. Couples make love openly, drunks sleep on the floor and other unusual activities take place late at night. To make pictures in the off-guard manner he wanted to, Kubrick rode the subway for two weeks. Half of his riding was done between midnight and six a.m. Regardless of what he saw he couldn’t shoot until the car stopped in a station because of the motion and vibration of the moving train. Often, just as he was ready to shoot, someone walked in front of the camera, or his subject left the train.

Kubrick finally did get his pictures, and no one but a subway guard seemed to mind. The guard demanded to know what was going on. Kubrick told him.

“Have you got permission?” the guard asked.

“I’m from LOOK,” Kubrick answered.

“Yeah, sonny,” was the guard’s reply, “and I’m the society editor of the Daily Worker.”

For this series Kubrick used a Contax and took the pictures at 1/8 second. The lack of light tripled the time necessary for development.

— “Camera Quiz Kid: Stan Kubrick,” The Camera, October 1948

The digital team reflects on Valentine’s Day

We here in the digital lab have conflicted feelings about today’s holiday.  So we’ve pulled images from our collection that express a variety of  viewpoints about romance and Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s cards in the mid-19th century and Stanley Kubrick’s  images of teenagers canoodling on a fire escape  in the 1940’s show that New York is the place to be in love. (But just in case you don’t agree with that last sentence, we have images for you too.)

Our collection of vintage Valentine’s Day cards  runs the gamut from the sweetly violent….

Comic Valentine card. ca. 1920. Museum of the City of New York. 03.49.1

to the quad-lingual (what a lucky girl Miss Louise Horn was)…..

Valentine: Eternal Love. 1847. Museum of the City of New York. 31.18.19.

to the faintly seductive.

Greeting card. ca. 1880. Museum of the City of New York. 38.8.262.

Moving beyond greeting cards to real people,  here are some more  images of love, from Bohemians to Bobby Soxers.

Jessie Tarbox Beals. Couple standing near fountain in Greenwich Village. ca. 1915. Museum of the City of New York. 94.104.862

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). Park Benches - Love is Everywhere.1946. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10347.11.

And if you don’t find anything to love about Valentine’s Day, these could be more your speed.

Advice to Girls About to Marry - get used to this language when you tell him you want a new hat. ca. 1905. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.34.582.

James Henderson (Firm). Single One, Married One - "Lucky Dog". ca. 1895. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.34.560.

Currier & Ives. "No One to Love Me." 1880. Museum of the City of New York. 56.300.603.

“Painting for fun is catching on furiously among celebrated people”

In an October, 1948 article, LOOK magazine proclaimed, “Painting for fun is catching on furiously among celebrated people. About one hundred Big Names have answered a call for help from the Urban League.  Many have picked up a paintbrush for the first time….”

Joan Crawford, Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, Joe Louis, and many others donated their original artworks to the cause. Many, including an artistically struggling Joan Crawford who was described in LOOK as “attacking the canvas,”  allowed themselves to be documented during the harrowing creative process.

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). Celebrities Paint for a Cause, 1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10653.100,101

Although we don’t have images of Lena Horne, Joe Louis, and Frank Sinatra attending the benefit show, we have pictures of the paintings they produced:

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). Celebrities Paint for a Cause, 1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10653.24

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). Celebrities Paint for a Cause, 1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10653.4

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). Celebrities Paint for a Cause, 1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10653.2

This last image begs the question, “Can and did Frank Sinatra paint the saddest clown ever?”

Betsy Bloomingdale - international socialite, style icon, wife to the heir of the Bloomingdale’s fortune, and close confidante of Nancy Reagan – also donated her efforts:

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). Celebrities Paint for a Cause, 1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10653.108

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). Celebrities Paint for a Cause, 1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10653.108

Here is “boy-next-door” actor Van Johnson hard at work on a painting:


Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). Celebrities Paint for a Cause, 1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10653.122

The Museum of the City of New York holds hundreds of outtakes from this shoot, images that never made it to print.  Though they were famous in their time, no one on our cataloging team recognizes the celebrities below. Do you?  Help us identify these individuals in our comments section!

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). Celebrities Paint for a Cause, 1948. Museum of the City of New York.

The Sultry Showgirl

When Stanley Kubrick was a young man, he had the good luck to be assigned a job for LOOK Magazine that allowed him to create an intimate  photographic portrait of Rosemary Williams.

Stanley Kubrick(1928-1999). Showgirl, 1949. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11448.62B

This story, shot in the spring of 1949, captures the young Rosemary as she transforms herself from an everyday gal into a showgirl.

Although a majority of the negatives and prints from this story show the budding Rosemary in her home, preparing coffee, lounging on a chair with a book, or praying at church, they caught my eye because of the continuous thread of theatricality.

Stanley Kubrick(1928-1999). Showgirl, 1949. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11448.42

Kubrick was able to capture the careful construction of a personal image. Within all of these photographs, Rosemary is never out of character.  The combination of the general staged aspect of LOOK and the calculated influence from entertainment studios has created a story that is campy in nature but also emphasizes how celebrities (major and minor) painstakingly construct their own image.

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). Showgirl, 1949. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11448.104D

However, what becomes apparent through the constructed moments and interactions within the photos is Kubrick’s cinematic eye. Although many of the photos contain that trace, I was knocked over by the photo above, which reminds me of a still from a film.  The posed figures, purposeful illumination of the interaction between the two characters, and stark background allude to actions happening outside of the frame.

One can imagine that Rosemary was perhaps a commuting showgirl, driving back and forth every night from the depths of New Jersey.  Thank goodness Kubrick happened to be present the night her car got a flat!

Follow this link to get a dose of a fast talkin’ 50s news story about Rosemary Williams and the dastardly Sidney M. Levy.

Although the Museum has documentation that Rosemary appeared on Broadway in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1953 musical comedy, Me and Juliet, as a chorus girl alongside Shirley MacLaine, Rosemary seems to have disappeared into the fog of time. We’d love to find her or discover something about her post-showgirl life. Email us at collections@mcny.org if you have any information. You could win a free reproduction print from our collection as a thank-you!

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). Showgirl, 1949. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11448.99F

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). Showgirl, 1949. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11448.121F

Circus

Stanley Kubrick(1928-1999). Circus, 1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11327

1948 was a good year for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.  The “Big Show” traveled from coast to coast with a coterie of performers and animals, encountering raving fans and sold out shows.

On May 25th of that year, LOOK Magazine ran a story about the circus with accompanying photographs by Stanley Kubrick.  He captured the many aspects of the troupe’s life on the road: rehearsing, playing cards, training animals, and their children at play.

Stanley Kubrick(1928-1999). Circus, 1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11327.73

The images retain the mysticism of the circus; focusing on portraits of the performers, aero stars (possibly the famous Ming Sing group), and the workers who cherished the livelihood of ‘Big Bertha’.

Stanley Kubrick(1928-1999). Circus, 1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11327.136

These images reflect my fascination with circuses from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century.  When I was an undergrad, I noticed that there was an underground revival of the Vaudeville tradition.  There were a few occasions when troupes traveled through our little college town.  These days, it is a romantic notion that people can exist within smaller, untouched pockets of society.  Even so, I like to subscribe to the ideas of those quiet rebellions.

Stanley Kubrick(1928-1999). Circus, 1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11327.23

America’s intrigue with the circus has lasted over 200 years.  Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “The circus is the only ageless delight that you can buy for money.  Everything else is supposed to be bad for you.  But the circus is good for you.  It’s the only spectacle I know that, while you watch it, gives the quality of a truly happy dream.”

Stanley Kubrick(1928-1999). Circus, 1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11327.36

Today, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus still tours extensively.  Although the circus now plays to sold out arenas, and is a large corporation, there are still smaller operations that retain the aesthetic and values of the early 20th century circus.  One of the most noted is the Big Apple Circus, which was recently featured in the series Circus on PBS.  It’s a fantastic series, and quite honestly made me want to hop on the road with them!  Maybe next year….

Stanley Kubrick(1928-1999). Circus, 1948. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11327.39

The Tale of the Shoe Shine Boy

Stanley Kubrick’s 1947 pictorial for LOOK Magazine.

At the age of 13, Stanley Kubrick was given a Graflex camera by his father which triggered a fascination with still photography.  He sold his first photo to LOOK magazine when he was 17 years old and soon became a staff photographer.

Stanley Kubrick(1928-1999). Shoe Shine Boy, 1947. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10368.286

In 1947, a year after he started photographing for LOOK, Kubrick shot the story of the Shoe Shine Boy.  This pictorial contains a total of 202 images captured on 35mm film strips and medium and large format negative, most of which have never been published.

This story follows Mickey,a 12-year-old boy from Brooklyn who shines shoes for 10 cents a pop to  help support his sizable family, including nine brothers and sisters.

Stanley Kubrick(1928-1999). The Shoe Shine Boy, 1947. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10368.262

Kubrick follows Mickey throughout his day, photographing him boxing and playing basketball, going to the laundromat, interacting with his family, and shining shoes.

Even in the early stages of his professional career, Kubrick has the eye of a director.  The photographs seem artfully staged and speak about the human condition, something that Kubrick uses as a ongoing theme within his films.

Stanley Kubrick(1928-1999). The Shoe Shine Boy, 1947. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10368.230

Kubrick often spoke about his early days as a photographer and how he could not have been the filmmaker that he was without a ‘photographer’s eye’.

**Stanley Kubrick shot for LOOK magazine from 1946 to 1951.  The Museum of the City of New York has approximately 12,000 Kubrick negatives and 10,000 contact sheets. We are in the process of digitizing ALL of them!

Stanley Kubrick(1928-1999). The Shoe Shine Boy, 1947. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10368.281

To read more of an in-depth (and incredibly interesting) description of Kubrick’s days at LOOK Magazine, go to the 2005 Vanity Fair article.

Do you have information about Mickey or his family? We’d like to find him. Help us out and you could win an archival quality print from this series. Email collections@mcny.org with any information.

Stanley Kubrick(1928-1999). The Shoe Shine Boy, 1947. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.10368.308