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What Stanley Kubrick learned from photographing New York City

Before he became the director of iconic films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, a 17-year-old Stanley Kubrick was taking gorgeous photographs of New York life.

You know those kids, the ones everyone knows who they'll grow up to be? That's the sense you get from looking at Stanley Kubrick's photographs of life in New York.

Taken starting when he was just a 17-year-old kid from the Bronx working for Look magazine, there's so much energy and emotion packed into his images they appear to be almost like GIFs, about to come to life at any moment.

It's a fascinating early glimpse of a man who'd go on to make slow-burn epics like The Shining and 2001: A Space Odyssey, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018. The director is famous for using stillness as a tool, creating a steady, quiet canvas to make his characters stand out even more, a talent he surely learned while taking these photographs.

The Museum of the City of New York takes a much deeper look at Kubrick's tenure at Look, from 1945-1950, with the new exhibit Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs. Opening May 3, the show follows his career from a photojournalist who didn’t shy away from the grit of the city even as he was drawn in by its glamour to visionary director in more than 120 images, many of which have never been published.

Check out a handful of them in the gallery above, and see the rest from May 3-Oct. 28.