The photo world just lost one of its masters. According to the Los Angeles Times, photographer Julius Shulman died yesterday from being really freaking old.
Shulman is best known for his architecture photography. I look at a room or a house and I just see a box. This man could look at building and turn a photo of a wall into a work of art. He spent most of his life documenting the modernist movement on the West Coast, photographing hundreds of homes made of steel, glass, and corners sharp enough to cut the camera’s lens.
I remember hearing a story about how he would charge a fortune to photograph someone’s home and then spend an entire day roaming the grounds. By the evening, he had taken only a handful of images, but every one of them was stunning.
“He has a sense of visual bravura of composition,” wrote the late Robert Sobieszek, photography curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, “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.”
I immediately regretted not meeting with him when I had a chance a few years back. Shulman was signing and chatting about his three-volume collection “Modernism” at Taschen New York, but I couldn’t afford the $200 tome and told my friend that I couldn’t swing it. I am now kicking myself hard.
If you have any interest in photography, modern/minimalist homes, or architecture, check out the recent anniversary edition of “Modernism Rediscovered,” which runs less than $25. The work will amaze you and you will never look at a house the same way.
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- Julius Shulman, 1910-2009 (laobserved.com)
- R.I.P. Julius Shulman; Photographer Chronicled Los Angeles’ Mid-Century Rise (franklinavenue.blogspot.com)
- Julius Shulman Is Dead! Long Live Julius Shulman! (greg.org)