US filmmaker Stanley Kubrick cut his teeth as a photographer, hired by Look magazine when he was 17, and his keen eye is evident in images shown for the first time at an exhibition in Venice.
Rainer Crone, a professor of art history, spent 10 years poring over some 14,000 negatives that the director of "A Clockwork Orange" snapped for the iconic picture magazine that stopped publishing in 1971.
Kubrick's father, himself a photography buff, gave his son his first camera when he was 13 and already hooked on movies.
|A visitor is seen looking at pictures by filmmaker Stanley Kubrick during the Stanley Kubrick, Photographer Fotografo 1945-1950 exhibition at the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti in Venice.|
The boy took to the new hobby with a passion, developing his photos with a friend in the family darkroom.
Since his high school results were not good enough for him to go to university, he began working for Look, dividing his time between going to the movies and honing his skills as a photographer.
Crone obtained Kubrick's permission to use the photographs in a book and an exhibition in 1998, but said the director, then 70 and in his last year of life, had no negatives from his 1945-50 stint at Look and did not know where they were.
"In the end he said, 'I wish you good luck'," Crone told AFP.
The researcher finally tracked down the negatives at the US Library of Congress and the Museum of the City of New York.
"They were in the original bags of Look magazine, dusty and everything," Crone said.
He selected around 150 to print for the first time to give the public a glimpse at this other side of the director.
The resulting show, "Stanley Kubrick, Photographer 1945-1950," runs until November 14 at Venice's Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti.
The shots show a precocious talent for capturing the essence of daily life in post-war America, from the doomed career of a long-legged starlet named Betsy von Fuerstemberg to the hardships of circus performers, crystallised in a photo of a ringmaster with anxiety etched on his face.
"These photos give a vital image of what American culture must have been like when it started differentiating itself from the European culture which was dominant at the time," Crone said.
The curator believes Kubrick "invented a completely new concept of photography... telling stories by still photography -- narratives."
"My thesis is that these photos are basically storyboards. He was thinking of films."
Especially moving is a 1947 photo essay showing a day in the life of Mickey the shoeshine boy, aged about 12.
Another photo essay titled "Prizefighter" does the same for the boxer Walter Cartier and was the starting point for Kubrick's first movie, the documentary short film "Day of the Fight" (1951).
The show began in Milan and will travel from Venice to New York, Lugano, Switzerland, and Lisbon.