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Take 210,000 colour transparencies – plus or minus a thousand or two. Examine them one by one by one, carefully and closely. Study – and think about – the framing, lighting and colour balance. Check for any blurring or closed eyes. Think about how they’ll look blown up to billboard size. Take your time. You’ll need to. Now make an initial pick – 100 shots, say. Then cut your choices down to 30 – ‘the brown bag’ in movie jargon, the selection which will go to the studio executives. Then trim that down to six transparencies. And finally, to just one image – the iconic one.
That is the process by which Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 film The Shining came to be known by that one, terrifying moment of Jack Nicholson’s wild, unshaven, grinning face – eyes sharp left – emerging through an axe-smashed door. And it’s how Murray Close learned to take a photograph.