What did Ostian script look like? I've seen some drawings in Origin of the Serif and I'd like to learn more. But when I tried googling I wasn't able to find anything: all I got were false positives.
The example on Figure 212 of Catich's book shows a Roman majuscule A and N, which are described as Ostian inscriptions of the year 75. Both are in the Vatican Lapidary Museum.
Compared to Trajan, the height-width ratio of the letters is smaller. The right leg of the A is very thick, with a very long exit serif.
There is no such thing as "Ostian script". Ostia is known for having been the source of a relatively large number of well-preserved Latin inscriptions (one is shown below). These inscriptions show the same variety of different Latin letters found at Rome itself and in other places within the Roman Empire. Latin inscriptions vary, as one might expect, because each stone cutter had their own style
Ostia was a Roman port, possibly the first of their colonies. As such, the script should have been based on the Latin alphabet, which itself appears to have been derived from the Etruscan script.
Looking at graffiti found in the ruins there was a fair amount of variability in writing of Latin characters.
The Persian alphabet (Persian: الفبای فارسی , romanized: Alefbā-ye Fārsi) or Perso-Arabic script, is a writing system used for the Persian language spoken in Iran (Western Persian) and Afghanistan (Dari Persian). The Persian language spoken in Tajikistan (Tajiki Persian) is written in the Tajik alphabet, a modified version of Cyrillic alphabet since the Soviet era.
The Modern Persian script is directly derived and developed from Arabic script. After the Muslim conquest of Persia and the fall of Sasanian Empire in the 7th century, Arabic became the language of government and especially religion in Persia for two centuries.
The replacement of the Pahlavi scripts with the Persian alphabet to write the Persian language was done by the Saffarid dynasty and Samanid dynasty in 9th-century Greater Khorasan.    It is mostly but not exclusively right-to-left mathematical expressions, numeric dates and numbers bearing units are embedded from left to right. The script is cursive, meaning most letters in a word connect to each other when they are typed, contemporary word processors automatically join adjacent letter forms.
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The Latin alphabet started out as uppercase serifed letters known as roman square capitals. The lowercase letters evolved through cursive styles that developed to adapt the inscribed alphabet to being written with a pen. Over the ages many dissimilar stylistic forms of each letter evolved but, when not becoming a recognised subform to transliterate exotic tongues, denoted the same letter. After the evolution from the Western Greek Alphabet through Old Italic alphabet, G developed from C, the consonantal I (namely J) from a flourished I, V and U split likewise and the Germanic-centred ligature of VV became W, the letter thorn Þ was introduced from the runic alphabet but was lost in all except Icelandic, and s would be normally written as a long s (ſ) or, if doubled, ß inside a word, the latter surviving in German. S would settle as it appears today a terminal s (as it always had been at a word's end) after the 7th century AD – the internal forms were widely deprecated by the 19th century.
However, thanks to classical revival, Roman capitals were reintroduced by humanists making old Latin inscriptions easily legible while many medieval manuscripts are unreadable to an untrained modern reader, due to unfamiliar letterforms, narrow spacing and abbreviation marks save for the apostrophe and Carolingian minuscule letters (lower caps).
Phonetic value of some letters has changed in live languages whether or not from Latin origins, each seeing diverse softenings, drifts or phonetic complications such as in Italian, English, Dutch and French. Vowels have also evolved with notably great vowel shifts in English and Portuguese. Orthography does not fully match phonetics – an illustration being that ⟨o⟩ became used rather than ⟨u⟩ when before i, m, n, v, w for legibility, namely to avoid a succession of vertical strokes, in English.  Within each language there are Homophonic heterographs (words written differently but sounding the same) and the adoption of digraphs for new sounds, such as ⟨sh⟩ for Voiceless postalveolar fricative in English, being ⟨ch⟩ in French, yet ⟨ch⟩ in Italian denotes k or the very basic words that began qu and their derivations. A theme for digraphs is widespread use of h as a second letter, avoiding diacritics onto, under, or over the first letter (unavailable in most basic printing presses) as in Romance languages h is usually a voiceless remnant.
It is generally held that the Latins derived their alphabet from the Etruscan alphabet. The Etruscans, in turn, derived their alphabet from the Greek colony of Cumae in Italy, who used a Western variant of the Greek alphabet, which was in turn derived from the Phoenician alphabet, itself derived from Egyptian hieroglyphs. The Latins ultimately adopted 21 of the original 26 Etruscan letters.
Legendary origin account in Hyginus Edit
Gaius Julius Hyginus, who recorded much Roman mythology, mentions in Fab. 277 the legend that it was Carmenta, the Cimmerian Sibyl, who altered fifteen letters of the Greek alphabet to become the Latin alphabet, which her son Evander introduced into Latium, supposedly 60 years before the Trojan War, but there is no historically sound basis to this tale.
"The Parcae, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos invented seven Greek letters – A B H T I Y. Others say that Mercury invented them from the flight of cranes, which, when they fly, form letters. Palamedes, too, son of Nauplius, invented eleven letters Simonides, too, invented four letters – Ó E Z PH Epicharmus of Sicily, two – P and PS. The Greek letters Mercury is said to have brought to Egypt, and from Egypt Cadmus took them to Greece. Cadmus in exile from Arcadia, took them to Italy, and his mother Carmenta changed them to Latin to the number of 15. Apollo on the lyre added the rest." 
Derivation from Egyptian hieroglyphs Edit
Below is a table synoptically showing selected Proto-Sinaitic signs and the proposed correspondences with Phoenician letters. Also shown are the sound values, names, and descendants of the Phoenician letters. 
The original Latin alphabet was:
The oldest Latin inscriptions do not distinguish between /ɡ/ and /k/ , represented both by C, K and Q according to position. This is explained by the fact that the Etruscan language did not make this distinction. K was used before A Q was used (if at all) before O or V C was used elsewhere. C originated as a turned form of Greek Gamma (Γ) and Q from Greek Koppa (Ϙ). In later Latin, K survived only in a few forms such as Kalendae Q survived only before V (representing /kw/ ), and C was used everywhere else. G was later invented to distinguish between /ɡ/ and /k/ it was originally simply a C with an additional diacritic.
- C stood for both /k/ and /ɡ/
- I stood for both /i/ and /j/ .
- V stood for both /u/ and /w/ .
K was marginalized in favour of C, which afterward stood for both /ɡ/ and /k/.
Probably during the 3rd century BC, the Z was dropped and a new letter G was placed in its position – according to Plutarch, by Spurius Carvilius Ruga – so that afterward, C = /k/, G = /ɡ/.
An attempt by the emperor Claudius to introduce three additional letters was short-lived, but after the conquest of Greece in the 1st century BC the letters Y and Z were, respectively, adopted and readopted from the Greek alphabet and placed at the end. Now the new Latin alphabet contained 23  letters:
The Latin names of some of the letters are disputed. In general, however, the Romans did not use the traditional (Semitic-derived) names as in Greek, but adopted the simplified names of the Etruscans, which derived from saying the sounds of the letters: the vowels stood for themselves, the names of the stop consonant letters were formed by adding the neutral vowel e, which in Latin became /eː/ (except for K and Q, which were distinguished from C by appending the vowel which followed them in Etruscan orthography), and the names of the continuant consonants were formed by preceded the sound with /e/ . X was named /eks/ rather than /kseː/ , as /ks/ could not begin a word in Latin (and possibly Etruscan). When the letter Y was introduced into Latin, it was probably called hy /hyː/ as in Greek (the name upsilon being not yet in use), but was changed to i Graeca ("Greek i") as Latin speakers had difficulty distinguishing the sounds /i/ and /y/ . Z was given its Greek name, zeta, when it was borrowed.  For the Latin sounds represented by the various letters see Latin spelling and pronunciation for the names of the letters in English see English alphabet and for the sounds in English see English phonetics.
Roman cursive script, also called majuscule cursive and capitalis cursive, was the everyday form of handwriting used for writing letters, by merchants writing business accounts, by schoolchildren learning the Latin alphabet, and even by emperors issuing commands. A more formal style of writing was based on Roman square capitals, but cursive was used for quicker, informal writing. It was most commonly used from about the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD, but it probably existed earlier than that.
Late Antiquity Edit
The Latin alphabet spread from Italy, along with the Latin language, to the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea with the expansion of the Roman Empire. The eastern half of the Roman Empire, including Greece, Asia Minor, the Levant, and Egypt, continued to use Greek as a lingua franca, but Latin was widely spoken in the western half of the Empire, and as the western Romance languages, including French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Catalan, evolved out of Latin they continued to use and adapt the Latin alphabet. In the East, it evolved forming the Romanian language.
The lower case (minuscule) letters developed in the Middle Ages from New Roman Cursive writing, first as the uncial script, and later as minuscule script. The old Roman letters were retained for formal inscriptions and for emphasis in written documents. The languages that use the Latin alphabet generally use capital letters to begin paragraphs and sentences and for proper nouns. The rules for capitalization have changed over time, and different languages have varied in their rules for capitalization. Old English, for example, was rarely written with even proper nouns capitalised whereas Modern English of the 18th century had frequently all nouns capitalised, in the same way that Modern German is today.
The use of the letters I and V for both consonants and vowels proved inconvenient as the Latin alphabet was adapted to Germanic and Romance languages. W originated as a doubled V (VV) used to represent the sound [w] found in Old English as early as the 7th century. It came into common use in the later 11th century, replacing the runic Wynn letter which had been used for the same sound. In the Romance languages, the minuscule form of V was a rounded u from this was derived a rounded capital U for the vowel in the 16th century, while a new, pointed minuscule v was derived from V for the consonant. In the case of I, a word-final swash form, j, came to be used for the consonant, with the un-swashed form restricted to vowel use. Such conventions were erratic for centuries. J was introduced into English for the consonant in the 17th century (it had been rare as a vowel), but it was not universally considered a distinct letter in the alphabetic order until the 19th century.
The names of the letters were largely unchanged, with the exception of H. As the sound /h/ disappeared from the Romance languages, the original Latin name hā became difficult to distinguish from A. Emphatic forms such as [aha] and [axxa] were used, developing eventually into acca, the direct ancestor of English aitch. 
With the spread of printing, several styles of Latin typography emerged with typefaces based on various minuscules of the Middle Ages depending on the region. In Germany, starting with Johannes Gutenberg the commonly used typefaces were based on blackletter scripts, a tradition that lasted until the 20th century, an example of the later typefaces used is fraktur.
In Italy, due to the revival of classical culture, the heavy gothic styles were soon displaced by Venetian Latin types, also called antiqua, which were based on the inscriptional capitals on Roman buildings and monuments. However, humanist scholars of the early 15th century mistook Carolingian minuscule as the authentic writing style of the Romans and redesigned the small Carolingian letter, lengthening ascenders and descenders, and adding incised serifs and finishing strokes to integrate them with the Roman capitals. By the time moveable type reached Italy several decades later, the humanistic writing had evolved into a consistent model known as humanistic minuscule, which served as the basis for Venetian typeface.
Khandro Dayig – The Dakini Script
During Guru Padmasambhava’s lifetime, he interred countless revelatory treasures known as terma in Bhutan. These treasures were concealed in different landscapes to help keep the Buddhist doctrine pure and responsive to the needs of the times.
The 8th century, tantric master composed many gonters or mind treasures and embedded these secret teachings in the realm of mind and space for posterity to be discovered centuries later.
The advanced secret teachings were recorded in secret codes known as Khando Dayig or the Dakini script.
Only the realized masters such as the Tertöns or “Treasure Revealers” can reveal these treasures. But only a few of them have the power and knowledge to unfold the mind treasures into whole teachings.
The Dakini script looks mystical, but is for real although the art of writing and reading may have disappeared.
Some scholars say it resembles a more cursive deviation of the Dzongkha fonts while others say that is a variant of classical Tibetan.
Some even argue that it resembles the Sufi calligraphy of the Islamic world. To the untrained eye, the script looks like an incomprehensible scribble.
The script of the sky dancers is a work of art. It can be compared to the best Japanese or Chinese calligraphy. The way the letters connect to each other, and how the letters appear to dance across the page can make a dissertation for a doctorate student. Some examples are more fluid and abstract.
Although nothing is certain, it is commonly believed that they are two types of Khandro Dayig. The first ones are those written by Guru and the second, those written by Tertöns while receiving the hidden teachings.
Some ancient texts describe Guru’s handwriting as, “thin and ravishingly beautiful.” Other scripts are considered to be thick and smooth or big but both scripts are effectual in composition.
Irrespective of the version of the script, the mystical writings look beautiful and form an exciting calligraphy. The fonts are designed in free hand calligraphy. An added mystery is that because the script could be a mix of several languages, some characters can be recognized, and parts of it may be understandable.
It is believed that Tertöns will see the seed texts or other symbolic clues in a dream or in the sky and even in waterfalls where the script appear. The script will remain until the treasure revealer reproduces the full text.
While Tertöns are expected to reveal gongters, not all have the realization to decipher the secret teachings.
Only the destined Tertöns will be able to apprehend the full meaning and decode the complete text. For example, Tertön Sherub Membar (1375-1435) revealed some Dakini script in Bhutan but could not decipher it. He had to seek the assistance of Tertön Dorji Lingpa (1346-1405) who could unfold the hidden teachings.
According to oral tradition explained by Lopen Kunzang Thinley, 65, one of the few people with some knowledge of the script, Dorji Lingpa knew about 14 languages ( or scripts ) and that could have helped him decipher the codes.
Tertöns are found to be amongst the ranks of lamas and sages whose high spiritual standing is already established. Occasionally a layman and even an unschooled person can find himself or herself to be the vehicle for this inspired activity.
Buddhists consider the Khando Dayig as one of the thongdrols or ‘liberation upon sight’. In Buddhist tradition, some things are so holy that just the mere sight of them plants seeds in our consciousness that will develop into the cause of our final freedom.
Tertön Mingyur Dorje (1645-1667), one of the treasure revealers of the 17th Century, endorsed this theory: “Those who see this script will not experience the three lower realms and will be liberated from the fear of falling into those realms will be purified of the five poisons and freed from the results of one’s karma will be freed from the fear of remaining in samsara.”
Bhutan might be one of the few places left in the world where physical treasures with Khando Dayig may be found.
According to Lopen Kunzang, the remote village of Nabji in south central Bhutan has Dakini scripts engraved on two stone pillars.
According to the scholar, Nabji is one of the first places Guru visited in Bhutan. The village is a pilgrimage site and the villagers consider the script as thongdrol.
The late Dilgo Khyentse (1910-1991) had instructed Gelong Nyabchi to find this terma and place it above the Guru Nangsid Zilnön statue in Kyichu Monastery in Paro.
Lopen Nyabchi looked for it in all our monasteries but could not find it. One day, the Lopen accompanied the Royal Grandmother, to Dechenphu monastery. In the monastery, Her Majesty instructed Lopen to clean the principal Guru statue. While Lopen was cleaning it, he discovered a scroll of this Mandala behind the statue. Later, Lopen Pema Tshewang (Pemala) wrote down the golden secret Dakini script from the scroll.
Tertön Pema Lingpa works also contain many Dakini scripts. In 1976, Her Majesty the senior Queen of the 2nd King, Ashi Phuntsho Choeden sponsored the printing of the complete works by this Tertön. H.H. Dudjom Rinpoch did the proof reading and found many sample of Khando Dayig.
In 1968, Chögyam Trungpa (1939-1987) revealed the mind treasure “The Sadhana of Mahamudra” at Taktsang monastery in Bhutan. It is said that there are many terma sites in Bhutan, which hold treasure teachings of body, speech, mind, knowledge and activity – each supposedly distinct from the other – and that Bhutan is full of yellow scrolls, which contain terma texts in Dakini script.
In the tantric world treasures are hidden for posterity. Teachings are kept secret and the issue of empirical proof occupies a subsidiary importance. By nature, independent verification of their contents is impossible.
In the objective sense the terma texts are largely the work of the Tertöns themselves. Apart from the texts, which are recovered in complete form, most of the documents appear at best to be mere fragments and remnants of ancient writing.
The Bhutanese culture considers terma tradition to be important, precious, and above all, effective, as spiritual teachings hidden by Guru Rimpoche to be revealed at an appropriate time to benefit sentient beings
In the Himalayan ritual arts, the 8th century mystic, Guru Rinpoche is supreme. Today there is hardly anyone who can read the Dakini script.
The magical enigmatic script is a testimony to the fact that we possess innate magical qualities of the phenomenal world in all their limitless variety. Guru represents Buddhahood and is the symbol of what we hope to become and how to unlock what we already have within us. Regardless of religion, the Khando Dayig is the inspiration of how we can decode our true potential that that we are seeking in all spiritual forms.
2 Answers 2
Character data is, in most modern machines, managed as 8-bit bytes. (In some cases the characters are 16 or 32 bits, but that's just confusion at this juncture.)
If you look at an ASCII table you will see the basic "Latin" character set:
The individual characters are identified by an 8-bit byte where (for the basic ASCII chars) the high-order bit is zero. So values run between 0 and 127, or between 00 and 7F hex (or between 00000000 and 01111111 binary).
I should inject here that the first 32 codes are non-printing codes for "control characters". Eg, the code at decimal 10 or hex 0A is the "line-feed" code, which is the code known in C and Java as "newline". And the 00 code is the "NUL" character as mentioned below.
The characters in a sentence are laid out in order in memory, in successive bytes. Hence, "Hello" will be 48 65 6C 6C 6F in hex. For C and C++ a simple "C string" is always ended with a byte of all zeros (the "NUL" character in the chart). For Java the length of the string is in a separate variable somewhere else. A few character coding schemes "prefix" the string with it's length as an 8-bit or 16-bit value.
As you can see above, the ASCII character set includes non-alphabetic characters such as ! and + and ? . For "non-Latin" characters (eg, the character £ or Ç ) one of several techniques is used to "extend" the character set. Sometimes those 8-bit characters with values of 128 to 255 are used to represent the non-Latin characters of a given language (though one must know which language in order to know which set of characters is being represented). In other cases "Unicode" is used, with 16-bit or 32-bit characters instead of 8-bit characters, so that virtually every character in every language has its own unique code.
Medial S: The Old English S That Looks Like F
Have you ever looked at a picture of a really old document or an inscription on the wall of an old building and thought, “Why are there F’s instead of S’s? Did F stand for S back then?” But no, it’s only some of the S’s that look like F’s, not all of them: You’ll see both letters right next to each other, so it’s not like they didn’t have the letter S back then. Confusing, right?
The answer lies in the fact that that’s not an F at all. It’s actually a letter called the medial S, also known as the long S, which was a second form of the lowercase letter S. This old-fashioned letter has a long history. It’s derived from the Roman cursive S, and it survived as the Old English S, then onward through the history of English orthography until the 1800s.
The history of S is a twisting, turning path. Until around the 1100s or so, the medial S was the lowercase form of the letter, while the curvy line we use today was the uppercase form. But over time, the regular S, technically known as the “round S” or “short S,” started being used as a lowercase letter, too. By the 1400s, a new set of S usage rules was established: The medial S would be used at the beginning of a lowercase word or in the middle of a word, while the round S would appear either at the end of a word or after a medial S within a word, as in “Congreſs” (which appears in the first line of Article I of the Constitution).
Why did the old S go away? The answer lies largely in the use of the printing press. After all, why should printers keep two different forms of the lowercase letter S around when they could just use one and the words would still be readable? And if you have to choose one symbol for S, it only makes sense to choose the one that isn’t easy to mistake for an F.
Today, few people use this old-fashioned letter, but the Old English S did survive as a piece of mathematical notation. In calculus, the integral symbol ∫ is derived from the first letter of the word “summa,” Latin for “sum,” back when it would have started with a medial S. You’ll also see the early S behind the bar of many drinking establishments: It’s in the logo on every bottle of Jägermeister (or should that be “Jägermeiſter”?).
In Nazi Germany it was a symbol of communal spirit and a variant sign of the Waffen-SS division “Nordland”. This symbol’s origin and its relation to the Anglo-Saxon ger rune remain unclear to me.
Wolfsangel was a device to trap wolves. The symbol representing it was believed to have the magical power to ward off werewolves. The Wolfsangel sign does not belong to any runic tradition. In the 15th century it was adopted as an emblem of the German peasants’ revolt. Ever since it was regarded as symbolic of liberty and independence. In Nazi Germany it was an early emblem of NSDAP and later the emblem of the Waffen-SS division “Das Reich”. A squat version of the Wolfsangel was used as a badge of the Weer Afdeelingen, Dutch equivalent of the German SA.
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If you wish or need to use runes in whatever way you see fit, do it.
Runes are ancient heritage and far much older than 1939-1945.
(this is something the German government must understand not to put their taxpayers into jail because they use runes or Asian Swastikas)
What is the rune that stands for battle. I need to know for academic reasons.
Runes are an alphabet, they are like letters. Usually they do not designate whole concepts or notions.
The rune that would best fit the idea of battle would be the rune, “tiwaz’. This is a symbol of the god Tyr (god of war), which best correlates with the idea of battle.
Hope that helps!
Why is it even necessary that anytime we talk about our culture we have to say “but we are not racists or affiliated with Nazism”?
If we see a Mexican with an Aztec tattoo, or a black with an Africa neclace, do we immediately shout “You racist bigot! Why do you want to kill whites?”
The ADL has a section on their site that essentially says anything German is evil, and even has a button to click if you are a cop!
Almost all these symbols are on there.
Great site btw. I like the simple 1990’s format. Please don’t ever make it modern and busy and hard to read.
Can anyone help me? I would love to take a rune symbol for my new tattoo. Can anyone tell me what the symbol for love is? I found different things on the Internet and don’t want to have a disrespectful image on my body, thanks!
You might already have this but it looks like a skeleton key. i don’t recall the name.
Pagan is an old Roman worn that means country dweller i.e. farmers. It was used to denote worshippers in multi-theistic religion when Constantine declared Rome Christian because the new religion was slow to dispel the old.
With all due respect for your contribution to the linguistic origin of the term, “pagan,” Emperor Constantine ruled from Byzantium (later renamed, “Constantinople,” as a nod to Constantine’s influential reign today, called, “Istanbul,” and the capitol city of Turkey).
Constantine’s Byzantine Empire, if compared with the ‘Holy Roman Empire,” was a brief run- yet when evaluated thoroughly and objectively, eclipses the influence of Christianized Rome.
The reign of Constantine is extraordinarily fascinating history, and included a lot of major ‘plot twists,’ of sorts, involving the relative influences of (multiple) Greek (pantheonic, and ‘Greek Orthodox’) States, the Roman (pantheonic, and ‘Holy’) Empire, the-once-science-&-engineering-centric (and consequently, enormously wealthy) Damascus, Gibraltar (and of course, her Strait), Cairo, Baghdad, Jerusalem, the culture of the Arabian Peninsula, and Mongol societies in Europe, Eurasia, and the Middle East.
Unfortunately, much of what is most interesting (and shapes a very interesting character of Emperor Constantine) is also not very well-known, for the reason that much of Constantine’s Byzantium’s history is wholly rejected, outright, by fundamental adherents to multiple major religions (though the well-documented, logical and simplest relevant facts are usually most adamantly condemned as nonsense by Christian fundamentalists, regardless of sect).
I could go on and on about Constantine’s political gambits, subtle cultural maneuvers, and even the extremely effective strategy for imperial influence- one which does not require waging wars- that was utilized later by the Holy Roman Empire when faced with challenges insurmountable by armed forces (hint: the pen is mightier…), as well as Emperor Constantine’s personal spiritual practices -as opposed the religious doctrines he passively, but intentionally, displayed to the general public- all of which fit together quite cleverly…
…but I shan’t go on, lest the faithful folk go on the march with torches and pitchforks.
Ankara is the capital of Turkey-not Istanbul.
I can Only speak for norway but as i know from history christianity was Forced upon people with violence.Practically you would Get the choice between live ad a Christian or die as a viking. With chatolisism came the shame of giving birth to a child outside marriage. And the fear of being drowned or burned. If you survived the test with floating in the water you where a Witch,then you must be burned. If you drowned you where INNOCENT. Talk about bloody..
Why did norsemen convert to Christianism? Well, they didn’t… They asimilated few aspects of the Christian cult and rites because the similarities between characters and situations from the gospels and the eddas (Jesuschrist crucifixion asimilated to Odin ordeal at the wind tree to regain wisdom). Some times it was as easy as for the misioners to let them adapt the gospel to their own oral lore, and times going on, Odin was replaced by Jesús in their prayers. Think of Santería or Voudoun… Animist lores intermixed with catholic imagery… And please, forgive my grammar and ortography… English is not my native language.
The one of many thing that the Christians have in common with the Nazi’s is burning the writings, history or books of anyone that didn’t agree with their ideology. The reference to Saint Patrick in Ireland about driving the snakes out of Ireland ( notice the word ‘drive’, not ‘politely ask’) was in reference to Goddess worshipping Pagans. ( if U must have a capital letter, so can we.) The so called great Saint Patrick converted people by telling his followers that went from place to place in Ireland to get rid if anything that didn’t agree with Christianity. They also built churches over Pagan Holy places to make sure the people had to go to their churches if they wished to go to their own holy places. The original passages in the Bible. ‘Did not say ‘thou shalt not suffer a witch to live’, it said thou shalt not suffer a poisoner to live.’ And the original word translated in the Bible for got had no gender, it was neither male nor female. Also you should read the ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ , also called the ‘Witch’s Hammer’ (what do you think that means? Look it up.) that is the idea of how a good Christian church treats anyone who doesn’t agree with them. Oh, and the Christians weren’t the only people fed to the lions in Rome, Pagans were too. If we are nitpicking, the list could go on & on & on & on. I was Christian, I am now Pagan, yet I believe in Jesus & God, but not as an all knowing male only. Oh yes, shock horror, I’m one of Eve’s mob (not as in the ‘mob’ in the bible, there is only one of me). You can believe what you want to believe, just don’t push your rhetoric or bigotry down other peoples throat. There is enough room in this world for us all.
Good point. History is rife with misrepresentation of what was essentially a join us or die, and rather sweeping change in belief structure. I was raised in Utah, as a Mormon, whom believe whole heartedly that they have the unequivocal truth and only path back to god. That they are christian. And that founder Joseph Smith was a prophet and man of god. All of these points I have come to believe are fictional. I love my parents but their faith and entire world is illusion. Religion is not but a way of control and should never be a reason to kill
The Latin Alphabet
For phonetic reasons, the symbols &ldquoJ&rdquo, &ldquoU&rdquo and &ldquoW&rdquo were added to our alphabet during the Middle Ages. The Latin language used an &ldquoI&rdquo symbol where we use a &ldquoJ&rdquo, a &ldquoV&rdquo symbol where we use a &ldquoU&rdquo. &ldquoThe &ldquow&rdquo consonant did not exist in Latin. Think of the famous text &ldquoSENATVS POPVLVSQVE ROMANVS&hellip&rdquo (&ldquoThe senate and people of Rome&hellip&rdquo) as you for instance find it on the base of Arch of Titus, constructed in 82 AD to celebrate the victories of emperor Titus.
To add the new symbols, the shape of the &ldquoU&rdquo character was based upon the &ldquoN&rdquo symbol, the shape of the &ldquoW&rdquo character was based upon two joined &ldquoV&rdquo symbols. (The English language calls this symbol a &ldquodouble u&rdquo to this day!)
Ironically, inscriptions of the Romans on, say, stone monuments (&ldquocapitalis monumentalis&rdquo) are more readable than manuscripts from the Middle Ages and documents from the 19th century! The examples below illustrate the Trajan script, so-called because it was found on the base of Trajan&rsquos Column, constructed in the year 114 AD to celebrate emperor Trajan&rsquos victory over the Dacians.
actual inscription (contains abbreviations)
expanded version (has no abbreviations, uses the full character set)
Because of its regular, &ldquogeometric&rdquo character and its simple but impressive elegance, these serif letters on the base of the column (now called Trajan) unarguably became the most infuential version of ancient Latin script. Suffice it to say that the uppercase characters of the Latin alphabet as we now know it to be used by most languages are simply based upon it!
Notice how this Roman inscriptional lettering carved in stone already has beautiful serif: it&rsquos fair to say the old Romans invented serif&hellip
An eminently recognizable and perfectly legible typeface, isn&rsquot it? The &ldquotail&rdquo on the letter &ldquoQ&rdquo is a dead giveaway. Not to mention that its clarity has never been improved upon!
As the Roman era came to an end, this script was abandoned in favor of the uncial script that would be used from the 3rd to the 8th centuries AD . Still no lowercase characters, but ascenders and descenders were added to the letters in the course of the 6th century, which gives one the impression that uppercase and lowercase characters are mixed!
Towards the end of the 8th century, we saw the first post-Roman empire governed by Charlemagne, who installed of education policy based on literacy and writing schools (&ldquoscriptoria&rdquo). As a result, the English scholar Alcuin of York, head of the scriptorium in Charlemagne&rsquos capital Aachen, morphed the uncial script into Carolingian lowercase script. This script would be used from 800 to 1200.
Carolingian script was clear and legible with rounded shapes. This script clearly distinguished the lowercase and uppercase characters. It also put spaces between the words &mdash a novelty: the Romans put a dot between the words, uncial manuscripts started using word separation at a late stage.
Contrary to the Gothic fonts that replaced the Carolingian minuscule, the Carolingian script seemed so &ldquoclassic&rdquo to the Renaissance printers such as Aldus Manutius that it looked truly &ldquoRoman&rdquo, so the Humanist fonts were based on it. In this sense, Carolingian script was the basis for our modern Latin-alphabet fonts&hellip!
It&rsquos easy to see how the Gothic fonts (often called &ldquo Fraktur &rdquo or &ldquo blackletter &rdquo) used in Europe until 1941 were derived from the uncial and Carolingian script during the 12th century! Gothic typefaces offered a real advantage to the scholars that produced the manuscripts: the previous script, although easily legible, was time-consuming and labour-intensive to copy. Furthermore, the letter shapes are wide and take up a lot of space on a manuscript. Hence the thinner blackletters dominated by thick vertical strokes.
It is thanks to the Gothic fonts of the 12th century that the modern &ldquot&rdquo was born: the letter&rsquos &ldquostem&rdquo, the basic stroke, got higher, timidly crossing the x-height of the letter. Even today, the &ldquot&rdquo character is often lower in many typefaces than the other symbols with an ascender!
The dots on the &ldquoi&rdquo and &ldquoj&rdquo characters are an even later addition: it was only in the Renaissance period that dots were added on the &ldquoi&rdquo symbol. (The &ldquoj&rdquo character wasn&rsquot used yet. ) (Note that the Turkish language distinguishes two &ldquoi&rdquo characters &mdash one without and one with a dot!)
The &ldquomonumental&rdquo Roman uppercase characters and the uncial lowercase characters constitute the basis of the modern alphabet. The Renaissance culture with its &ldquohumanistic&rdquo scripts was based upon these symbols. And when you realize that the printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg around 1450, you see the direct connection with the printed fonts we still see nowadays in papers, magazines etc.
The modern Latin alphabet comprises 52 letters, including both upper- and lowercase characters, 10 numerals (&ldquodigits&rdquo), punctuation marks and a variety of other &ldquospecial&rdquo symbols such as &ldquo&&rdquo (the ampersand), &ldquo°&rdquo and &ldquo@&rdquo (at sign).
Many Latin languages add a variety of accents &mdash or should I say &ldquodiacritics&rdquo? &mdash to the basic glyphs, and a few also use extra letters and ligatures.
Accents have a number of functions: they modify the pronunciation of a letter, indicate where the stress should fall in a word or indicate emphasis in a sentence, mark the pitch or intonation of a word or syllable, indicate vowel length and visually distinguish homophones.
In the English language, the use of accents is basically limited to some loan words with &ldquorésumé&rdquo at the top of everybody&rsquos list.
The ümlaut or diaeresis symbol (¨) has two functions. In German, the ümlaut indicates that the sound of the vowel changes. (&ldquoLaut&rdquo means &ldquosound&rdquo in German, &ldquoum-&rdquo indicates change.) Originally, Germans wrote a small Gothic &ldquoe&rdquo above the vowel, which closely resembled two vertical bars. So, the symbol was simplified over time. Swedish has this too with words such as &ldquomaelström&rdquo etc. )
Secondly, the ümlaut indicates &ldquodiaeresis&rdquo or the division of vowels. You indicate that two successive vowels are not a diphthong &mdash as in for instance &ldquonaïveté&rdquo (pronounced &ldquona-i-vu-tay&rdquo, not &ldquonai-vy-tay&rdquo). In the English language, diaeresis is limited to some loan words, but in French for instance, the need for diaeresis is very strong (dadaïsme, Moïse, Saül)!
The cedilla (the accent of &ldquoç&rdquo), has the form of the lower part of a handwritten &ldquoz&rdquo. Indeed, the &ldquoz&rdquo is the origin of this accent! &ldquoCedilla&rdquo is Spanish for &ldquolittle Z&rdquo, &ldquoceda&rdquo being &ldquoZ&rdquo. The &ldquoç&rdquo character is used in French and Portuguese, the &ldquot-cedilla&rdquo and &ldquos-cedilla&rdquo are common in Turkish and Romanian.
The tilde (~) as in &ldquopiñata&rdquo, &ldquoseñal&rdquo and &ldquocampaña&rdquo, is best known because of the Spanish and Portuguese languages. is a remnant of old handwritten traditions. In the first Latin texts, the &ldquom&rdquo and &ldquon&rdquo character could be written above a letter, not after it. Over time, these shapes were simplified to the tilde.
The following extra letters are used in Icelandic. A thorn (þ and Þ) is pronounced like the &ldquoth&rdquo in the English word &ldquothree&rdquo. The letter eth (ð and Ð) is pronounced like the &ldquoth&rdquo in &ldquothis&rdquo.
Ligatures (&ldquojoined&rdquo letters) &mdash æ, &oelig and ß &mdash are used in several languages such as French, German and Icelandic.
The German symbol &ldquoß&rdquo (pronounced &ldquo es-tset &rdquo) is commonly mistaken for a diacritic symbol, but it is actually a ligature of two &ldquos&rdquo characters. The last German spelling reform (of 1996) reduced but did not abandon the use of this special symbol!
Azeri &mdash at least, the Latin-based version of it &mdash and Tatar use the &ldquoschwa&rdquo symbol (Ǝ and ǝ) &mdash it looks like an inverted &ldquoe&rdquo!
Contrary to the letters, the numerals of the Latin alphabet are not based on the Roman tradition! The Romans had their own complex &mdash and unpractical &mdash system that did not win the day.
placing I in front of the V &mdash or any smaller number in front of any larger number &mdash indicates subtraction
example: IV means 4
what about 9? IX &mdash you subtract I from X
what is 40? XL &mdash you subtract 10 (X) from 50 (L)
apply the subtraction rule to write 90 (100 - 10) as XC
as you can guess, CD means 400 (500 - 100)
The numerals 0 to 9 are of Arabic-Indian origin. These symbols are called &ldquoArabic&rdquo because merchants trading goods with the Arabic countries introduced them in Europe. Which doesn&rsquot change the fact that they appeared first&hellip in India in 264 BC (By the way, the Arabic countries correctly call the numbers of the Latin alphabet &ldquoIndian&rdquo numerals (&ldquoarqam hindiyyah&rdquo)!)
In hindsight, this choice of words is not surprising: the Arabic countries had influential mathematicians in the Middle Ages that strived for efficient calculation and bookkeeping methods! (The words &ldquoalgebra&rdquo and &ldquoalgorithm&rdquo have an Arabic origin.) As for the numeral system, two names were crucial: Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi, whose book &ldquoAlgoritmi de Numero Indorum&rdquo (&ldquoOn the Calculation with Hindu Numerals&rdquo) was written about 825 A.D. and survived only in the Latin translation &mdash you see the first page below, it starts with the words &ldquoDixit algorizmi&hellip&rdquo &mdash and the philosopher-mathematician Al-Kindi, who introduced the Islamic and Christian world to the Indian numerals (with four volumes called &ldquoOn the Use of Indian Numerals&rdquo).
So, what do the &ldquoIndian&rdquo numerals of the Arabic script look like? Here they are!
Several elements complicate the situation further. For one, Farsi, another language that uses the Arabic script (a.k.a. &ldquoPersian&rdquo) uses different symbols to represent the Indian numbers 4, 5 and 6.
But there&rsquos more: in Arabic documents, the &ldquoArabic&rdquo numerals from the Latin alphabet are used alongside the &ldquoIndian&rdquo numerals from the Arabic alphabet! And then there is the matter of the text direction: although Arabic is written from right to left (just like Hebrew), both the Indian and Arabic numbers are written from left to right! When numerals occur inside Arabic text, the writing direction changes in mid-line&hellip
(&hellip 1559 . )
Back to the Latin alphabet. The Arabic numerals barely changed shape during the Middle Ages: the same shapes were used for any font. The French printer-typographer Claude Garamond (1499-1561) was the first to design new numerals styled after new typefaces!
The first fonts with digits styled the numerals after the lowercase characters. That can still be the case, they&rsquore now called &ldquosmall caps numerals&rdquo or &ldquoold-style numerals&rdquo. These numerals can have ascenders and descenders: the x-height applies to them!
The Coptic Language and Script
Although attempts had been made in the 2C BC to transliterate the Egyptian language into the Greek script, with little success, it was not until the early 1C AD that a conscious effort was made to express Egyptian in Greek script. This was achieved using the Greek alphabet with the addition of seven characters taken from _ the late demotic Egyptian for sounds not represented in Greek. This was the origin of the Coptic script which embraced the current Egyptian vernacular, already heavily adulterated with Greek termi- nology, with perhaps five or more dialects. The most important of these were Bohairic of the Delta and Sahidic from Upper Egypt. The first examples in Coptic are secular ephemera from the early 2C AD, progressing through glosses to Greek texts, translations from the Greek, and finally Gnostic and Christian works composed entirely in Coptic. Flourishing literatures existed in both dialects. Sahidic, purged of all Greek elements after the Council of Chalcedon, was the more prolific, but since most of the senior hierarchy of the church were northerners, in the mid 11C Bohairic was ordained as the official liturgical language. Although now only
used in the liturgy, it persisted as a spoken language until the 13C “while Sahidic may have survived until the 17C in the South.
Kubrick’s Photography Career
Kubrick’s father, a professional physician and amateur photographer introduced his son to photography at an early age. When Stanley was thirteen, his father bought him his first camera, a Graflex Pacemaker Speed Graphic. Equipped with his new camera, a young Stanley would shoot baseball games, school activities, and his neighborhood streets.
Stanley shared a passion for photography with his neighbor Marvin Traub, who had a darkroom in his bedroom. When they weren’t in the darkroom, they would be out taking pictures and thinking up photo assignments for themselves. The photographer Weegee whose photos for PM Daily would provide an early and significant influence on the two youngsters.
Although he wasn’t aware of it at the time, Kubrick started building toward his life work as a filmmaker during his early high-school years. While still a senior – and not quite seventeen – he sold his first photograph to Look magazine.
His First Published Photo
The day after President Franklin D. Roosevelt died, while on his way to school, Stanley noticed a newsagent vendor on 170 th street surrounded by headlines announcing the death of the president. He took a photo that changed his life.
Kubrick’s carefully framed photo captured the grief of the nation over the sudden death of the president. He later admitted privately to friends that he convinced the vendor to look more depressed than he was. This incident presages Kubrick’s method of working with actors on movie sets to get them to generate the right emotion for the shot.
By this time, he had his own darkroom at home. Instead of attending school that day, he developed his film and after seeing the negatives believed the image to be sellable. He took the image to the New York Daily News, then used the newspaper’s offer as leverage with Look. The magazine paid $25, which was $10 better than the newspaper.
Look used the picture as the final image in a series about the late president in the June 26, 1945 issue of the magazine. After his first photo was published in 1945, Kubrick worked as a freelance photographer for the magazine, whilst still attending high school.
From Apprentice to Staff Photographer
After graduating, Kubrick attended night courses at City College for a year, hoping to get a B average so he could transfer to a regular undergraduate course. At the same time, he continued to work for the magazine.
The picture editor at the time Helen O’Brien, said, “Stanley had the highest percentage of acceptances of any freelance photographer I’ve ever dealt with.” Seeing the potential in the young photographer, Look offered him a job as an apprentice photographer.
My parents wanted me to become a doctor, and I was supposed to go to medical school, but I was such a misfit in high school that when I graduated, I didn’t have the marks to get into college. But like almost everything else good that’s ever happened to me, by the sheerest stroke of luck, I had a very good friend at Look which gave me a job as a still photographer. After about six months, I was made a full-fledged staff photographer. My highest salary was $105 a week, but I did travel around the country, and I went to Europe and it was a great thing. I learned a lot about people and things.Stanley Kubrick
Kubrick began his photography apprenticeship with Look in 1946. In his first couple of years on the job, Kubrick turned his camera on nightclubs, the street of New York, and sporting events. Capturing everyday life with a sophistication that belied his youthful years. Many of these themes would continue to inspire the filmmaker later in his creative life.
One of his first photo essays, A Short, Short in a Movie Balcony (April 1946), shows four candid photos of a young man making advances on the young woman sitting beside him in a cinema.
The photoshoot was set up – the cinema was closed – and the two subjects were Stanley’s friends. He took both of his friends aside separately to give them direction. He told the woman to let the man really have it. So, when he does get slapped in the face, both the slap and his shock reaction are real. Stanley already knew how to get what he wanted for the camera.
Another photo essay How People Look to the Monkeys (also in 1946) shows a monkey in a cage being watched by spectators. The monkey house had an indoor and outdoor area. While the monkeys were in the outdoor area, Kubrick stationed himself in the indoor area with his lens poking through the food slit so he could capture the monkeys with the spectators in the background. The caption cleverly reads: “A monkey watching people.”
Candid Subway Photos
While Stanley displayed a talent for staged photos, suggesting a fondness for fiction, he also developed various candid photo techniques in keeping with the magazine’s journalistic nature.
For a photo essay titled, Life and Love on a New York Subway in March 1947, Kubrick hid a shutter release switch in his pocket with the cable running down the sleeve of his jacket to his camera, which was concealed in a bag with a hole.
Here is an explanation from Kubrick about how he took these photographs:
I wanted to retain the mood of the subway, so I used natural light. People who ride the subway late at night are less inhibited than those who ride by day. Couples make love openly drunks sleep on the floor and other unusual activities take place late at night.
To make pictures in the off-guard manner he wanted to, Kubrick rode the subway for two weeks. Half of his riding was done between midnight and six a.m. Regardless of what he saw he couldn’t shoot until the car stopped in a station because of the motion and vibration of the moving train. Often, just as he was ready to shoot, someone walked in front of the camera, or his subject left the train.
Kubrick finally did get his pictures, and no one but a subway guard seemed to mind. The guard demanded to know what was going on. Kubrick told him.
“Have you got permission?” the guard asked. “I’m from LOOK,” Kubrick answered.
“Yeah, sonny,” was the guard’s reply, “and I’m the society editor of the Daily Worker.”
For this series, Kubrick used a Contax and took the pictures at 1/8 second. The lack of light tripled the time necessary for development.Excerpt from Camera Quiz Kid: Stan Kubrick, The Camera, October 1948
Towards the end of 1948, Kubrick was given another photo essay, this time on boxer Walter Cartier. For the story, the photographer followed Cartier between two fights, capturing him from the moment he woke up, right up to his fight.
The striking image that filled the entire first page of the seven-page sequence demonstrates how Kubrick had matured as a photographer.
Cartier sits on a bench, as he waits before his fight, with his gloved hands in his lap, leaning back against a cinder-block wall. The boxer gazes upward, with a single ceiling light casting part of his face in shadow. Shooting from his favored low angle, Kubrick makes Cartier look powerful, almost like a modern-day gladiator gathering strength before battle.
The photo story that followed is headed, The Day of the Fight and consisted of nineteen photos. The candid photos included Cartier repairing his nephew’s toy boat, hanging out at Staten Island beach and watching a ball game at Yankee stadium. The photo story closes with Cartier knocking out his opponent. The victorious Cartier is shown standing in the ring while his opponent lies on the canvas out for the count.
These photos were published with the title Prizefighter in the January 18, 1949 edition of the magazine. This was an ambitious essay for the young Kubrick and one that got his editor’s attention at Look.
In 1949, Kubrick began working higher-profile assignments. By the end of the year, he had produced several character-centric photo essays about the lives of celebrities, showgirls, artists, athletes and the like.
In August 1950, Kubrick did a profile on the Hollywood actress, Faye Emerson. As part of the photo series, he photographed Emerson on interviews, laughing with reporters, juggling phone calls at the office and doing her hair in front of the mirror.
Other subjects include Leonard Bernstein, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra, President Eisenhower, and Rocky Graziano. He even journeyed to Europe on assignment and took travel photographs for the magazine.
It was tremendous fun for me at that age but eventually, it began to wear thin, especially since my ultimate ambition had always been to make movies. The subject matter of my Look assignments was generally pretty dumb. I would do stories like: “Is an Athlete Stronger Than a Baby?”, photographing a college football player emulating the ‘cute’ positions an 18-month-old child would get into. Occasionally, I had a chance to do an interesting personality story. One of these was about Montgomery Clift, who was at the start of his brilliant career. Photography certainly gave me the first step up to movies. To make a film entirely by yourself, which initially I did, you may not have to know very much about anything else, but you must know about photography.Stanley Kubrick
Learning from Experience
His short time as a photographer with Look taught a young Stanley the importance of story and how to form a narrative with his images. He also learned to work and collaborate with colleagues, whether writers, picture editors or managing editors to create concise features. These experiences along with learning how to light and understanding composition laid the foundations for his move to motion pictures.
I was at Look for four years until the age of 21. And of course, that would have been the period I’d have spent in college, and I think that what I learned and the practical experience, in every respect, including photography, in that four-year period exceeded what I could have learned in school.Stanley Kubrick
Below is a video about Kubrick’s work as a photographer for Look.
Kubrick’s Photography in Films
Probably no director in the history of cinema has involved themselves more deeply in the photographic process than Stanley Kubrick. The photography techniques he gained in the four years he worked for Look would play an important role throughout his career.
When a director dies, he becomes a photographer. Killer Kiss might prove that, when a director is born, a photographer doesn’t necessarily die.Stanly Kubrick
If you want to see an example of Kubrick’s use of photography in his films, then watch Barry Lyndon (1975). In the film, Kubrick assembles perhaps the most beautiful sets of images ever printed on a single strip of celluloid. Each composition is like a painting and they link together like a wondrous mosaic. None of these images would have been possible if it wasn’t for Kubrick’s mastery of camera, composition and lighting.
Here’s what Martin Scorsese said about the film:
I’m not sure if I can say that I have a favorite Kubrick picture, but somehow, I keep coming back to Barry Lyndon. I think that’s because it’s such a profoundly emotional experience. The emotion is conveyed through the movement of the camera, the slowness of the pace, the way the characters move in relation to their surroundings. People didn’t get it when it came out. Many still don’t. Basically, in one exquisitely beautiful image after another, you’re watching the progress of a man as he moves from the purest innocence to the coldest sophistication, ending in absolute bitterness – and it’s all a matter of simple, elemental survival. It’s a terrifying film because all the candlelit beauty is nothing but a veil over the worst cruelty. But it’s real cruelty, the kind you see every day in polite society.Martin Scorsese
Making Great Films
In his career, Kubrick directed just thirteen feature films, each one different from the others in both style and content. He has never made the same type of film twice. With every film, he starts over again.
Although Kubrick made fewer films than most filmmakers, the ones he did make rank highly on the lists of the greatest films of all-time with 2001: Space Odyssey topping many of them.
He just felt strongly that enough films are being made, he didn’t want to add to the pile of ‘just okay’ movies. That’s why it took him so very long to decide, to plan and prepare, to film and to edit. Fast he was not – neither was Vermeer – and then there were the films he prepared and abandoned.
You know so well how easy it is to make a film. To make a good film is a different matter, and a good film that enough people want to see is rather difficult. A great film is almost a miracle – like any great work of art, great painting, novel, symphony or building. And I dare to define greatness by the test of whether the work lasts and serves as a reference for future generations in order to have a look at our time.Jan Harlan, The right-hand man, BFI Interview
Stanley Kubrick didn’t just create films he created entire worlds on film. Due to his incredible use of photography and understanding of storytelling, his motion pictures remain timeless and get better with every viewing.
In Rothstein’s book, he also mentions the importance of shooting coverage. Look focussed more on the photographs than the actual stories, and staff photographers including Kubrick learned that it was important to shoot freely to get more coverage than needed, to give the magazine’s art department a wide range of choices for story layouts. Another invaluable lesson that Kubrick would later use in his filmmaking.
While the editors at Look often encouraged simple composition and the use of natural light, which was typical of photojournalism of the time, Kubrick would often imitate the style of the Hollywood film noirs he admired. While on assignments he would always try and add drama to the subject whenever he had a chance.
Real is good, interesting is better.Stanley Kubrick
There are links between Kubrick’s photography work and his early filmmaking, with boxers and showgirls, which he photographed for the magazine, prominent in his first successful feature, Killer’s Kiss in 1955.
Kubrick and Weegee
The young Kubrick was an admirer of the tabloid photographer, Arthur Fellig, also known as Weegee, who would often catch New Yorker’s off-guard in his photo essays.
In his photo series, Life and love on the New York subway (March 1947), Kubrick would also catch his subjects unaware: a woman sleeping in her lovers arms, a woman nursing her baby, commuters passing time by reading the daily newspaper and a young man holding flowers above his head to prevent them from being crushed by fellow passengers.
In June 1947, Kubrick was sent by Look Magazine to photograph a behind the scenes look at the film The Naked City, which was inspired by Weegee’s 1945 photobook of the same name. They certainly met and knew each other. Kubrick’s early noir films Killer’s Kiss (1955) and The Killing (1956) have the same kind of look as Weegee’s gritty street style.
Kubrick later brought Weegee on as a set photographer for Dr. Strangelove (1964), despite the presence of two photographers already hired by the studio.
Peter Sellers has also credited Weegee as the direct inspiration for Dr. Strangelove’s voice. If you get a chance, then check out this Peter Seller’s interview where he talks about Weegee and coming up with the voice for the character.
In the 40s and 50s, magazines were one of the major sources for news and entertainment. During this period, television was still in its infancy, so people read newspapers, listened to the radio, and would see newsreels at the movies to keep up to date with current affairs.
New York City was the home to America’s two leader pictorial magazines, Life and Look.
Look magazine, which was founded in 1937, was the biweekly rival to the weekly Life. Out of the two, Life tended to feature more wholesome content and cover more international events. Look sought “a lower, broader field” than Life and unlike their rivals, they rarely covered breaking news, due to the longer lag time between issues. The advantage of this is they could be more freewheeling in their search for the best stories.
During Kubrick’s time at Look, the magazine would sell on average 2.9 million copies per issue (figures for 1948). The magazine would peak at 7.75 million in 1969 with an ad revenue of over 80 million per year. In 1970, the magazine made a loss of $5 million, mainly due to television cutting into ad revenue, a slow economy and an increase in postal rates. In October 1971, Look published its final issue of the magazine. Circulation at the time was 6.5 million. Their rival Life magazine would also close the following year.
Photography in Later Life
Kubrick maintained the practice of using photos for storyboarding throughout his entire career. When shooting his early films, it was common for him to use a still camera to find his shots. In later films, he would use his director’s viewfinder instead, although he did continue to use still cameras for planning lighting and set design.
He would also use a Polaroid Pathfinder 110A for continuity on his pictures to check lighting and cameras exposures – this way he could see what the shot would look like before shooting the scene.
On Barry Lyndon, Kubrick famously used a 50mm f/0.7 Zeiss still-camera lens – which had originally been designed for NASA – mounted on his Mitchell BNC camera. The f/0.7 lens enabled him to shoot scenes by candlelight, using the fastest film available at the time: Kodak’s 5254, rated at 100 ISO. This super-fast lens captured rooms lit only by candlelight and natural light sources perfectly, creating a unique look, unlike any other film.
What Cameras Did Stanley Kubrick Use?
As mentioned before, Kubrick’s father bought him a Graflex Pacemaker Speed Graphic Camera when he was thirteen, this was later followed by a Kodak Monitor 620 when he was sixteen and then a Rolleiflex K2.
In 1948, Kubrick (19 at the time) gave an interview to a magazine called The Camera. In the article, titled Camera Quiz Kid: Stan Kubrick, Kubrick reveals that he uses a Rolleiflex Automat (6×6 Model RF 111A), a 4 Speed Graphic and a 35mm Contax II camera for his work. During this time, Kubrick also used a Leica IIIc.
The interview also revealed that when shooting interiors, Kubrick prefers natural light, but switches to flash when the dim light restricts the natural movement of the subject and it’s unavoidable.
And for a series of candid photographs shot mostly at night on the NYC subway, “Kubrick used a Contax…at 1/8 second. The lack of light tripled the time necessary for development.” But as Kubrick recalled, “I wanted to retain the mood of the subway, so I used natural light.”
Kubrick continued to use various cameras throughout his life and would always be seen with a camera on-set. Here are the other cameras he used:
- Rolleiflex Automat 6×6 Model K4
- Rollei 35
- Pentax K (Tower 29)
- Nikon F
- Nikkormat FTn
- Nikon S2 (5cm F/1.4 and then with the 3.5cm F/1.8)
- Polaroid Pathfinder 110A
- Polaroid OneStep SX-70
- Subminiature Minox
- 35mm Widelux
Camera Buying Advice
Matthew Modine tells a story from the filming of Full Metal Jacket (1987). Aware of Kubrick’s background in photography, Modine showed up on the first day of shooting with a Rolleiflex, the same model Kubrick used during his early days with Look, hoping to spark conversation over a shared interest.
I was nervous. I was going to meet Stanley Kubrick. I had the camera around my neck, trying to impress him with it, and then one day he looked at me and said, “What are you doing with that old piece-of-shit camera?” And I said, “Well, it’s a Rolleiflex…” and he cut me off saying, “I know what it is.” He told me to get this new Minolta auto-focus, all the lenses I needed, he even told me what camera bag to buy.
I didn’t like the Minolta, but I loved the Rolleiflex because of the way people behaved in front of it. It was a dyslexic camera and in that way it kind of made the world make sense. Upside down and backwards. I kept that camera with me, when we went to Vietnam and at boot camp, inside my flak jacket and when we were filming, and I saw something interesting I would snap a picture. I had prints made and I gave them to the different actors I took pictures of. I gave pictures to Stanley. His criticisms about exposure and composition were invaluable.Matthew Modine
Kubrick never one for sentimentality or outdated tech, made him buy a Minolta 7000 instead, which Modine did and hated it.
Best Camera for the Job
What’s interesting is that the Rolleiflex is considered one of the best cameras ever made, and far superior to the Minolta that Kubrick suggested.
I think, like most people, Kubrick was just always looking at new technology and was excited to see what it could do. Kubrick loved cameras, as the following quote from The Stanley Kubrick Archives book demonstrates:
From the start I loved cameras. There is something almost sensuous about a beautiful piece of equipment.
There is no doubt he would be using both digital and film for photography and filmmaking today. Hollywood special effects supervisor, Dennis Muren once said in an interview that Stanley would always ask him about the progress of digital technology.
One of the behind the scenes photos from, Eye’s Wide Shut show Sydney Pollack looking at the back of his Sony Cyber-shot F3 digital camera while Kubrick watches him playing with his new toy. Kubrick also owned five IBM computers way back in 1983! There’s a funny clip of him trying to get head around MS-DOS in 1984, which you can watch here.
In 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick also pre-envisioned the iPad. You see them in his film. More than 40 years before Steve Jobs would make them a reality. Samsung even challenged Apple’s patent claims by citing the tablet devices used by the astronauts in Kubrick’s film as “prior art”. So, if you want to create the next big thing, re-watch 2001 and see where your imagination takes you…
In the video below Tyler Knudsen (also known as Cinema Tyler) gives an overview of what cameras Kubrick used during his career. Please note that some of the cameras in the video are incorrectly identified. For a full list of Kubrick’s still cameras, please refer to our list above.
You can view more Stanley Kubrick photos at the Library of Congress and MCNY websites.
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Recommended Stanley Kubrick Links
Kubrick’s Cinematography Links
You can learn a lot about photography by studying how the great filmmakers photographed their films. Check out these interviews with Kubrick’s cinematographers where they discuss everything from lens choice to lighting to camera movements.
The Stanley Kubrick Archives, London College of Communication The Camera, Camera Quiz Kid: Stan Kubrick, October 1948
Stanley Kubrick Raps, Charlie Kohler, 1968
The Film Director as Superstar, Joseph Gelmis, 1970
Cowles Closing Look Magazine After 34 Years, NY Times, 1971
American Cinematographer, Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic collaborators recall the man, October 1999
Kubrick by Michael Herr, 2001
Looking Back on Stanley Kubrick, LACMA, 2013
The Right-Hand Man: Jan Harlan on Stanley Kubrick, BFI, 2013
The Killer Inside You: Matthew Modine Interview, Maxwell Kupper, 2013
Photojournalism, Arthur Rothstein, 1974
Stanley Kubrick: A Biography, John Baxter, 1998
Kubrick, Michel Ciment, 2001
Stanley Kubrick: Interviews, 2001
Stanley Kubrick – A Life In Pictures, Christiane Kubrick, 2002
The Stanley Kubrick Archives, 2008
Stanley Kubrick at Look Magazine, Philippe Mather, 2013
Stanley Kubrick and Me: Thirty Years at His Side, Emilio D’Alessandro, 2016
Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick, 2018
The Camera, Camera Quiz Kid: Stan Kubrick, October 1948
Audio Interviews with Jeremy Bernstein, 1966
Stanley Kubrick – A Life In Pictures DVD, 2002
Kubrick Remembered Documentary, 2014
Special thanks to the Stanley Kubrick Archive team based at the London College of Communication, who granted me permission to visit them on several occasions. I’m very fortunate to have this wonderful resource on my doorstep. I’m also extremely grateful to the Kubrick family, for making the archive available to the public.
Looking at scripts and studying Kubrick’s notes on story and character development has been an invaluable experience. I’ve also had the opportunity to see Mr. Kubrick’s negatives and photos from his early days at Look and his films. His publicity photos for The Shining – which were never used – are incredible, and just as good as any other photographer I have studied.