In 1946, Stanley Kubrick, then aged only 18, took these photographs of the New York Subway and had them published by LOOK Magazine. According to Helen O’Brian, head of LOOK’s photographic department, Kubrick generated the highest number of published articles of any photographer she had worked with. At the time, Kubrick was the youngest photographer LOOK had had on its books.
All these images were taken using natural light. Commenting on them later, Kubrick described how he wanted to retain the subway’s own mood in his pictures.
The pictures were taken across a fortnight of subway trips, half taking place after midnight. Capturing what he saw proved difficult – a subject would alight, a passenger would cross in front of his line of vision, and more significantly, the inherent movement of the trains rendered it impossible to take a photograph until the train had come to a halt.