Stanley Kubrick Shot These Intense Photos Of The Chicago Mercantile Exchange When He Was Just 21

Stanley Kubrick Directs

Photo: Captain Ahab’s Rare Books

Before Stanley Kubrick became famous for directing movies such as Eyes Wide Shut and A Clockwork Orange he was a magazine photographer.In the summer of 1949, when Kubrick was about 21 years old, Look magazine assigned him to do a  photo-essay titled, “Chicago, City of Contrasts.”

Part of the assignment took him to shoot the traders in The Pit at the Chicago Board of Trade, which later merged with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

He came back with some amazing images. After they were published, however, they were mislabeled by the Library of Congress, and most people don’t know that Kubrick ever spent time at the exchange.

BI now presents them correctly labelled for the first time this century: This is what Kubrick saw, 63 years ago.

The CME says these images are probably from the Chicago Board of Trade, which the CME acquired in 2007.

In 1949, trading was done the old-fashioned way: men bargained for commodity orders face to face.


When Kubrick visited, the CME was primarily trading in eggs and the board of trade was for grain futures.

Look magazine's publisher, Cowles Communications, bequeathed its image archive—including Kubrick's work—to the Library of Congress.

Kubrick died in 1999.

A man stands in front of the trade board.

This is how it looked then ...

... Here's what it looks like now.

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