Portfolio No. 38
Prizefighter by Stanley Kubrick.
Boxing was a common subject for Look throughout the 1940s and 50s. The sport was at the height of its popularity, and over the course of five years, Kubrick created more than a half dozen assignments on the subject. For his seminal assignment, “Prizefighter: Walter Cartier Is a Young, Strong Middleweight Struggling Along in Sport’s Toughest Business,” Kubrick shot more than 1,200 images for the seven-page article. Published on January 18, 1949, it followed the personal and professional life of 24-year-old middleweight boxer Walter Cartier, making it one of Kubrick’s largest and most significant assignments for Look. The photographs were visually stunning, with dramatic compositions and shadowy, chiaroscuro lighting. Graphic design by Look’s art director Merle Armitage juxtaposed small and full-page images in asymmetrical page layouts, rendering the photographs even more compelling. Cartier himself was the subject of Kubrick’s first film, the newsreel Day of the Fight (1951), and he essentially repurposed his Look assignment as a storyboard for the film. By the time the film was released, Kubrick had quit work at the magazine and decided to dedicate himself to directing motion pictures.
Kubrick’s work as a still photographer laid the technical and aesthetic foundations for his cinematography: he learned through the camera to be an acute observer of human interactions and to tell stories through images in dynamic narrative sequences. Kubrick’s early years at Look proved to be the start of his celebrated career as one of the 20th century’s great artists&mdasha time when he honed his skills as both a storyteller and an image maker, albeit through a different lens.
This portfolio is composed of 12 photographies, in black and white, 24x30cm sized, printed on a luxury and collector Fedrigoni paper.
Portfolio delivered in its complete box set: Wombat No. 38.