Working with Jack [Nicholson] is sort of like standing in front of the Grand Canyon
The original, unaltered period photo into which actor Jack Nicholson was composited to create the iconic photograph seen in the final shots of The Shining.
These images were found in a book entitled The Complete Airbrush and Photo-Retouching Manual, which was originally published in 1985. The author of the book was the retouching artist responsible for creating the composited image.
The original photographs of Jack Nicholson are located in the Stanley Kubrick Archive in London, and inspection of them reveals that only Nicholson’s head, collar, and bowtie were used; the rest of the figure is the anonymous man in the original 1923 photograph.
Interestingly, close examination of images from the film reveals that two different photo-composites were used: one for the long tracking shot which pushes down the hall towards the photo, and a different one for the extreme close-up. Nicholson’s composited head rotates from one photo to the next, and his shoulder shifts, partially obscuring the woman holding the cigarette behind him.
At the end of The Shining, the character of Jack Torrance appears in a 1921 photograph. Actor Jack Nicholson was composited into an existing vintage photograph, his head, collar and bow tie replacing that of an anonymous man.
Of the two images seen here, the blurrier one is from the very end of the long tracking shot which glides down the hall toward the framed photo. The second, sharper image is from the subsequent close-up to which Kubrick dissolves.
Nicholson’s head was composited into photographic prints enlarged to different sizes. This presumably afforded Kubrick the ability to film an extreme close-up of the photo from a much larger print than the framed image, thus ensuring maximum sharpness with minimum film grain
This animation reveals the fact that two different photographs were used: Nicholson’s head rotates counter-clockwise from one image to the other, and his screen-right shoulder has had much more retouching done in one photo than in the other, partially obscuring the woman’s hand holding the cigarette.
Camera Operator Kelvin Pike prepares to shoot a shot in the Pantry set of The Shining. He’s about to film the low angle shot of Jack toying with Wendy at the door. The lightbulb fixture on his chest was used to provide a fill light under Jack Nicholson’s face.
Stanley Kubrick lines up a shot on The Shining’s walk-in pantry set.