In the footsteps of a photographer
A few of the many Los Angeles buildings photographed by Julius Shulman are open to the public. Shulman's architectural photos tell the story of the city's growth.
We talk a lot about architects but not much about the architectural photographers who help make their work famous.
One of the most influential architectural photographers was Julius Shulman, who photographed buildings (and nature) in Southern California from 1936 to 2009, documenting the growth of the area. He is the subject of a book published last year, "Julius Shulman Los Angeles: The Birth of a Modern Metropolis."
The book's co-author, Sam Lubell, recently wrote a story for The New York Times about several of the homes and monuments that Shulman photographed that are open for tours.
He writes of Shulman's work:
"He was able to distill the character of a building’s surroundings, bringing the outside in and extending the inside out with his bold, wide angles, striking perspectives and diagonals that, as his gallerist Craig Krull once told me, 'suck you in.'"
Here are four places Shulman photographed that it's possible to visit (check out the Times' slide show of the places today):
- Hollyhock House: This house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright between 1919 and 1923 for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall, and it was the first house Wright built in Los Angeles.
But more than the individual elements and the great historical information, it's the sense of magic and possibility and the almost dreamlike quality of it all that makes this picture special. It's an architectural picture, but it's telling a story. That's what Julius' most successful pictures all did. At heart he was a storyteller more than anything.
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.