One of the greatest filmmakers of all time would be celebrating his birthday today, had a heart attack not claimed his life while he slept in 1999. In Stanley Kubrick’s 84 years though, he was able craft many of the most classic films ever projected in front of eyeballs, and leave an indelible footprint on cinema that will likely endure even into the next several, unforeseeable evolutions of the form.

Greater writers than I have eulogized him, so I’m just going to assume you know the freaking deal and instead point a spotlight at something potentially new to you. You may or may not know that Kubrick began his career in the visual arts as a photographer, and that he was even made a staff photographer for Look Magazine at the age of 17. His gifted eye was apparent immediately. Much of his photography was very journalistic and he had a knack for getting compositions of odd subjects, but what I’m really fond of are his well-timed snaps of people in a quiet, lonely moment.

Over the last couple of years, images that have largely been available only in museums have been sifted through and released as prints or online galleries. There are many thousands of photos surviving from his early photographic work (which began in the 40s), and I’ve collected a batch of some of my favorites of what’s online so we can take a look through the eyes of a young man that would soon go on to do extraordinary work. Take a brief trip through the images below and give a few moments of appreciation for the man who bought literary might to genre and bold imagery to ugly subjects.

You can find more photos, and some dates/background on many of these at Twisted Sifter and Gothamist.