Stanley Kubrick on Photography & Problem-Solving (1966)

“One thing that perhaps helped me get over being a misfit – a school misfit – was that I became interested in photography at about the same time; around 12 or 13. Now I think that if you get involved in any kind of problem-solving in-depth – almost anything – it’s surprisingly similar to problem-solving [in terms of] anything. I started out by just getting a camera and learning how to take pictures and learning how to print pictures, then learning how to build a dark room and learning how to do all the technical things, and so on and so on. And then finally trying to find out how you could sell pictures and, y’know, would it be possible to be a professional photographer? And it was a case of, say, over a period of, say, 13 to 17 you might say, going through step by step by myself – without anybody really helping me – the problem-solving [aspects] of being a photographer. And I found that, I think – in looking back – that this particular thing about problem-solving is something that schools generally don’t teach you. And that if you can develop a kind of generalized approach to problem-solving, that it’s surprising how it helps you in anything. And that most of the deficiencies that you see around you in people that you don’t think particularly are doing their job right or something, it’s really that, I mean, assuming that they care – y’know, a lot of people appear to care, or may actually care – if they’re still not going about things completely the right way, when you think about it, I generally find it’s just that they don’t have a good generalized approach to problem-solving. They’re not thorough. They don’t consider all of the possibilities. They don’t prepare themselves with the right information, and so forth. So I think that photography, though it seemed like a hobby – and ultimately led to a professional job – might have been more valuable than doing the proper things in school.”