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July 16, 2009 12:43 PM   Subscribe

RIP Julius Shulman, iconic photographer of modernist architecture.
posted by WPW (13 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
The LA Times recently ran a great piece about Case Study House 22--the subject of Shulman's most famous photograph.
posted by yoink at 12:48 PM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Among other things that that Times piece reveals, by the way, is that all of the wonderful mid-century modern furniture in that iconic photograph was brought in just for the shoot by Shulman and the two women are professional models hired for the day.
posted by yoink at 12:51 PM on July 16, 2009


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posted by contessa at 12:52 PM on July 16, 2009


Among other things that that Times piece reveals, by the way, is that all of the wonderful mid-century modern furniture in that iconic photograph was brought in just for the shoot by Shulman and the two women are professional models hired for the day.

That's brilliant. No wonder they look so purposeless - I thought it was all modernist leisure-age cocktail-hour lounging. Thanks for the link.
posted by WPW at 12:54 PM on July 16, 2009


Great images.

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posted by multivalent at 1:05 PM on July 16, 2009


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posted by DaddyNewt at 1:10 PM on July 16, 2009


I just saw some of these images at the Oakland Museum. A sad loss for photography.


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posted by bradbane at 1:32 PM on July 16, 2009


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posted by spitefulcrow at 1:36 PM on July 16, 2009


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posted by The Potate at 1:59 PM on July 16, 2009


Wow, that's weird, I was just reading about Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julium Shulman in the programme for the local film festival, not five minutes ago.
posted by Paragon at 3:23 PM on July 16, 2009


My freshman year of architecture school, he gave an impromptu private lecture to my studio of 25 students. We had no idea who he was at the time, nor had we even heard of the architects he talked about. But he knew them all personally. Then he laughed and warned us again that we'd never make much money in this line of work... Over the years I came to realize that this man was not only responsible for nearly every beautifully iconic architectural photograph, but also the way most people understand modern architecture, for better or for worse, since few people ever see these buildings in person.

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posted by sharkitect at 3:59 PM on July 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


> ...all of the wonderful mid-century modern furniture in that iconic photograph was brought in just for the shoot...

That's conventional in architectural photography, because an interior design that looks well and works well when you're inside the space does not necessarily photograph well. And even if the owners of the residences are photogenic they frequently prefer to be anonymous in photos intended for publication in Architectural Digest and similar magazines. (And I wouldn't rule out the possibility of various companies paying for product placement, or at the very least editorial direction that a certain designer or manufacturer's work appear in the shoots.) Above all -- can you look at any of those photos and be convinced that they're not posed?

I'm sorry to hear of Shulman's passing. He had a signature way of handling space in his photos, and it perfectly complemented the architecture of a period. So, in a way, it's sad that he receded into the background of public consciousness after the International Style fell out of fashion, but he continued to do good work up until his death. And his work will continue to influence artists, photographers and designers for a long time to come.
posted by ardgedee at 5:33 AM on July 17, 2009


The gigantic, three-volume "Julius Shulman: Modernism Rediscovered" is, I believe, the most expensive book I've ever purchased. It even topped my college biology textbooks and the reduced-print OED. BUT! It was absolutely worth every penny. It's page after page, volume after volume, of beautiful photography of beautiful architecture. It's hard to say "Oh, he died so young" when he obviously wasn't, but it's still a loss.

Roll on Julius, and thanks for the inspiration.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 6:57 AM on July 17, 2009


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