Last week I went to Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition. I have seen his movies many times and own most of them. What can one say about his movies– they have style. And impact. It was really thrilling for me to see actual props and artifacts from his films (although there were some replicas.) Fortunately they allowed photography (no flash) at the exhibition and I did not forget my cameras.
Actual costume worn by Lawrence Olivier as Crassus in Spartacus. It’s an odd feeling, to make the connection between a famous film you’ve seen, and a real object from it, right in front of you.
Vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills, one miniature combination Russian phrase book and Bible. Shoot, a fella’ could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff.
My favorite movie of all time is 2001: A Space Odyssey. I was six years old when I saw it and I knew then that I wanted to become an astronaut, wear this helmet, and explore the cosmos.
It’s remarkable how much the Star Child looks like Dave Bowman.
Joker’s helmet from Full Metal Jacket. I wouldn’t want to have wear something like this in real life. But if I did I might put a peace symbol on it. The duality of man. The Jungian thing, sir.
This model of the maze from The Shining was made by Adam Savage, of Mythbusters.
Mask worn by Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut.
The exhibition is not all props, here is a plan for shooting a scene in Eyes Wide Shut, it shows meticulous detail about the displays and signs in every shop along the street.
There are items on display from unfinished projects of Kubrick’s. He did an insane amount of research for a film on Napoleon which was never made, although it later helped for Barry Lyndon.
Some of the pictures I took were with my Lytro Illum camera. It can record not only the 2d position of light on its sensor, but also the direction of the light rays. Using a lot of computation, it lets you focus the picture after you take it, and shift the perspective (a little.) It allows you to take a kind of hologram of a scene. It’s good for imaging objects at close range, such as the things in this exhibition.
This is a handheld director’s viewfinder Kubrick used, allowing him to preview shots as they would appear in a movie camera. It’s safe to say he would see the same things differently through it than anyone else. I made this animated gif from an Illum picture, showing perspective shift. Note this is from a still camera, not a clip from a video camera. Would Kubrick have used new digital technology, or stay with analog film?
As a camera nerd, I could spend all day looking at Kubrick’s cameras and lenses. This is the famous f 0.7 lens he used to film Barry Lyndon by candle light (athough he used special bright candles.)
You can see more pictures I took in my flickr album here.
You can see interactive images I took with the Illum camera on my Lytro album here. You can click and drag the mouse on the images there to change focus and perspective.
Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition is at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, in San Francisco. It closes in one week as of this writing, October 30, so hurry if you haven’t seen it yet.