Sadly, Julius Shulman, who’s considered by many to have pioneered modern architectural photography, died last Wednesday in Los Angeles due to declining health conditions. His iconic images represent an era of progressive architecture that truly set the tone for the high-life in Southern California. I can’t imagine one person who has not been touched by his famous picture of Pierre Koenig’s Case Study 22, capturing the excitement and romance of hillside living in Hollywood.
I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Julius while a student in college. His photography class was more of an extracuricular activity than a formal workshop. For those privileged few of us who sat with Julius, we heard countless stories about his clients and projects. We knew them as legends, he knew them as friends, – Neutra, Ain, Lautner, Schindler, FLW, Saarinen, Frey, Eames, Soriano – all brilliant minds of the modern era.
To this day, I still think about the wise words he shared about having a keen eye when composing life. Everything from design, photographing, staging, organizing (Julius, wasn’t one for structured organization, but knew where everything was placed in his studio), and living…always keep it simple and let the work show its greatness. In honor of Julius, I suggest that we all do the same with our life and mirror the brilliance of his work. Keep it simple.
Here’s a picture I keep at my desk. It’s one Julius helped me compose when we were visiting Case Study 22 with the class. I think I got a B- that semester, mostly for the terrible exposures. However, he did think this picture was my best work. I’m just grateful that I had the chance to be mentored by greatness.
For an in-depth article about Julius, visit www.latimes.com .
There’s also a documentary about Julius and his work. More info at www.juliusshulmanfilm.com .