Julius Shulman Takes on Modern Architecture

Julius Shulman, Case Study House #22, Los Angeles, CA (Pierre Koenig), 1960

Designed by Pierre Koenig in 1959 for Buck Stahl as part of the Case Study Houses sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine, the Stahl house achieved its fame, in part, due to Shulman’s iconic image. The glass house appears to levitate over the Los Angeles skyline.

Julius Shulman, Tremaine House, Santa Barbara, Richard Neutra Architect, 1950

Julius Shulman (1910–2009) began his career as an architectural photographer in 1936 when he showed Richard Neutra some photographs he had made of the architect’s Kun Residence in Los Angeles. Neutra liked the images and asked Shulman to photograph more of his houses for him. Ultimately, Shulman photographed most of Neutra’s work and was introduced to other modernist architects working in Southern California. His extraordinary client list eventually included Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig, John Lautner, Rudolf Schindler, Raphael Soriano, Frank Lloyd Wright, and hundreds of others. Shulman did not merely document significant architecture, but interpreted it, becoming one of the most important and influential architectural photographers in history. When most people think of modernist architecture, it is Shulman’s images that come to mind. As Neutra said, “His work will survive me. Film is stronger and good glossy prints are easier to ship than brute concrete, stainless steel, or even ideas.” Shulman is the only photographer to have been granted honorary lifetime membership in the American Institute of Architects. He was given a lifetime achievement award by ICP in 1998.


About erinbarnett

Director of Exhibitions and Collections at the International Center of Photography, New York
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2 Responses to Julius Shulman Takes on Modern Architecture

  1. seecodyrun says:

    I just finished watching Visual Acoustics, a film cataloguing a good deal of his photography and ripe with his beautiful personality and commentary. My boyfriend and I were both deeply touched by his work and his life as well. I can’t wait to order his Taschen book.

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