Around the same time, in the mid-1940s, Kubrick started working as a photographer for Look magazine, which informed his approach to composition and mise en scène. In an interview with Michel Ciment for the book, Kubrick (1983), the director emphasized: “To make a film entirely by yourself, which initially I did…you must know about photography.”
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Kubrick’s intention in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), was to create “a visual experience, one that…directly penetrates the subconscious with an emotional and philosophic content,” he told Playboy in 1968. The sci-fi flick was filmed during NASA’s Apollo missions, and the set had to outpace emerging technology to successfully look futuristic. Alongside art director John Hoesli and cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth (and later in production, John Alcott), Kubrick meticulously researched NASA’s design, and employed a team of astronomical artists, aeronautics specialists, and aerospace engineers to design the spacecraft interiors. Dialogue is scattered sparsely throughout the film—totaling at only 40 minutes over two hours of film—so the sets, props, and costumes play a prominent role, drawing viewers into the atmosphere of the film and its vision of the future.