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Julius Shulman, the legendary photographer who helped make California Modernist architecture famous around the world, died on July 15 at the age of 98. Shulman produced images of buildings — by pioneering architects like Richard Neutra, John Lautner and Pierre Koenig — that defined the postwar architecture of Southern California, among other places. The gregarious and seemingly tireless photographer continued to work until shortly before his death; in a 2007 interview in T Design, Shulman sang the praises of Arne Jacobsen’s classic Egg chair; the renowned architect sent him two as a thank-you gift after a photo shoot in the 1950s.
- the nyt
His career dovetailed neatly with the rise of residential modern architecture as a consumable art form -- a product to be ogled, and dreamed about, as surely as any model in the pages of a fashion magazine. He ought to be recognized as the man who made Dwell magazine and Design Within Reach possible. And maybe even the world-famous, globe-trotting class of designers known as starchitects.
Shulman's vision of modern, stylish domesticity was in many respects an airbrushed one. It's hard to believe anybody actually ever lived the way the carefully posed models in his photographs seemed to, carrying a tray out onto a poolside terrace, or sitting in perfectly pressed suits and dresses on the edge of a Mies van der Rohe chaise longue, city lights twinkling in the distance.
But his images were impossible to resist as a kind of mythmaking, even for the most tough-minded observers of life in Los Angeles. To look for any length of time at a Shulman picture of a great modern L.A. house is to get a little drunk on the idea of paradise as an Edenic combination of spare architecture and lush landscape.
- the la times
Schulman, born in Brooklyn on October 10, 1910, died just two months shy of his 99th birthday, and—with the exception of a short-lived retirement during the rise of Postmodernism (which he detested)—had been continuously working around the world until the beginning of this year, when his health had begun to decline. In his later years he collaborated with German photographer Juergen Nogai.
- the architects newspaper