Before becoming the acclaimed director we all know and slightly question the values of, Stanley Kubrick was a working photographer for LOOK Magazine. Working in the post-war years of 1945-50 the young staff photographer focused his lens on a particular group of people during the year 1946, the ‘People Of The New York Subway’ – we take a look back at this fascinating moment in time.
Kubrick was keen to keep his shots candid and off-the-cuff in an attempt to accurately capture the freeing feeling the subway at night provided people. If you’ve ever ridden a metropolitan railway at night you will know that after a certain hour it all gets a little debauched.
To achieve this he rode the subway for two weeks, more often than not in the time between midnight and 6 a.m. always hoping to catch the right moment of openness from his subjects. Capturing them at all was a tricky venture, Kubrick could only operate the camera successfully when the train was fully stopped as the motion and vibration would ruin his shots otherwise.
Kubrick used a Contax and took the pictures at 1/8 second. The lack of light tripled the time necessary for development.