Before He Was Famous, Stanley Kubrick Shot These Beautiful Showgirls And Models In The 1940s

stanley kubrick

Photo: Wikimedia, CC.

Before Stanley Kubrick became famous for directing movies such as Eyes Wide Shut and A Clockwork Orange he was a photographer for Look magazine.In 1949, when Kubrick was about 21, Look sent him to Illinois to do a photo-essay titled, “Chicago, City of Contrasts.” He also shot an extensive portfolio of shots of ordinary life in New York.

One recurring theme emerges from the portfolio, which is now archived in the Library of Congress: Kubrick liked women.

Especially showgirls, performers and any other female who lived comfortably in front of a lens.

This is Kubrick’s collection of gorgeous black-and-white prints of models, dancers and entertainers, taken in the late 1940s.

As a young man before he became a director, Kubrick was bewitched by performers and shows. This was taken in Chicago in 1948.

This is Johnny Grant, the radio personality, chatting with showgirls in New York.

Showgirls at the Copacabana Club, also in New York, in 1948.

Not all of Kubrick's performers were on the big stage. This was a Chicago jazz club.

In Chicago, a lingerie model takes a smoke break while behind the scenes at a fashion show.

More Chicago women modelling clothes.

Kubrick seemed to enjoy the promise of a show as much as the show itself.

And the show didn't have to be that good: This is bodybuilder Gene Jantzen and his wife Pat with their 11-month-old, Kent.

That's a rollerskating chimpanzee, probably at the Palisades amusement park in New Jersey, long since demolished.

Sometimes he got a huge star: This is the actress Betsy von Furstenberg. She was big in radio.

Not all his women were famous, or even models. (This is a Columbia student carrying textbooks.)

Mostly, Kubrick's women were not celebrities. He liked to find beauty in the everyday.

Not all his models were female, either. This was a men's fashion show in New York.

That's Kubrick against the wall, catching himself in a showgirl's wardrobe room mirror.

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