This little doc was my favorite part of the touring Stanley Kubrick art exhibit which passed through LA a few years back.
After watching it, perhaps you’ll agree with me that it’s a tragedy that these useful lenses, so carefully chosen as tools of filmmaking, are instead touring the world as artifacts behind glass.
As a former magazine photographer, Kubrick had a deep understanding of not just how lenses would photograph a scene — dark, light, deep, shallow — but also every element of composition.
His camera positions are so artfully chosen. For example, the demonically-foreshortened low angle on Jack Nicholson when he’s trapped in the storage room in The Shining. Or there’s the story of the young Kubrick pulling rank on experienced d.p. Lucien Ballard in The Killing. Kubrick asked him to switch lenses for a long tracking dolly shot. When told switching lenses would mean Ballard’s lights were in the shot, requiring him to re-light the whole scene, Kubrick stood his ground. Ballard could change lenses or he could start looking for a new job.