Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Julius Shulman, RIP

The greatest architectural photographer of all time, in my opinion, Julius Shulman, died the other day at the age of 98. Still rather active up until his death (he was still shooting and recently went to an opening of an exhibition that included his work at the new Annenberg Center for Photography in LA), he became famous for his close working relationships with many of the most important modernist architects of the mid twentieth century: Richard Neutra, Rudolf M. Schindler, Gregory Ain, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Eames, Raphael S. Soriano, John Lautner, Eero Saarinen, Albert Frey, Pierre Koenig, Harwell Harris and many more. His photographs of the Case Study Houses are legendary in both the architecture and photographic world- actually all of his photographs are as he had such a singularly exquisite eye that could find compositions like no other. In one of the articles I read following his death I saw this quote from Robert Sobieszek, the late curator of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art: "He has a sense of visual bravura of composition, so that he can take a rather mundane house and make it look exciting, and take a spectacular house and make it look triply spectacular." As a photographer who has mainly concentrated my work on interiors I know how difficult it is to make every location look visually stimulating in every image, so I have long been inspired by his immaculate work. There is a book, actually set of books, on his work, Julius Shulman: Modernism Rediscovered, that I want more than anything at the moment, but the heavy price tag sets it currently beyond my reach- not that that stopped me from spending several long moments admiring all the photographs in it the other day when I was at Dia Beacon, just to find out half an hour later of his death. Definitely one of most inspirational people to me as an artist, he will be missed.

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Case Study House #22,(playboy), 1960
Los Angeles, CA
Pierre Koenig, architect


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Kaufmann House, 1947
Palm Springs, CA
Richard Neutra, architect


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Case Study House #21, 1958
Los Angeles, CA
Pierre Koenig, architect


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Case Study Home #20 / Bass House, 1958
Altadena, CA
Buff, Straub and Hensman, architects


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Drake House, 1952
Phoenix, AZ
Blaire Drake, architect


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Case Study House #22, (daytime pool), 1960
Los Angeles, CA
Pierre Koenig, architect


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Chuey House, 1958
Los Angeles, CA
Richard Neutra, architect



3 comments:

July Stars said...

I'm a complete devotee of his work and he is, for me, one of the brightest stars of the architectural world. I've just finished a really interesting Frank Lloyd Wright autobiography, I wonder whether I could find a Julius Shulman biog.
PS: tried to catch your show online but must have got the times wrong. Your colleague played some great tunes!

Keith said...

It was sad to hear of his passing. I loved his work. Thanks for sharing those images with us.

aileen said...

i love mid-century anything. great post!

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