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Meet Modern Architecture’s Most Iconic Photographer: Julius Shulman

Written by Kelly Weimert on Friday, September 21st, 2018 at 10:05am.

Julius Shulman photographing Case Study House no. 22, West Hollywood, 1960. Julius Shulman photography archive. The Getty Research Institute, 2004.R.10 // Image Source: casualoptimist.wordpress.com

Julius Shulman is among the most iconic architectural photographers to date. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Los Angeles, Shulman attended UCLA and University of California - Berkeley where he honed his photography skills and earned extra money by selling his photographs to fellow students.

In 1936, Shulman was enlisted by a friend to work for architect, Richard Neutra. When Shulman showed Neutra one of his photographs of the Neutra-designed Kun Residence in LA, Neutra recruited him to take more architectural photos, ultimately launching Shulman’s career.

Shulman went on to open his own photography studio where he made photos for modern architectural giants, like Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig, Frank Lloyd Wright, and hundreds of others. Many attribute much of the popularity of California's Mid-Century Modern architecture to Shulman’s work, as his photos received international acclaim.

Iconic Julius Shulman Photographs

One of the reasons Shulman’s architectural photos are so revered is that he didn’t merely document beautiful houses; he interpreted them. His compositions revealed the concepts and ideas behind each building as well as reflected the hopes and ideals of a generation. But, like all brilliant photographers, Shulman’s work is better seen than read about, so here are a few of our favorite photos from his unbelievable catalog of work.

Case Study House #22 AKA The Stahl House

Case Study House #22 AKA The Stahl House Photo By Julius Shulman
Image source: wsj.com

Designed by Pierre Koenig, the images Shulman made of Case Study House #22 are considered his most famous work.

Freeman House

Freeman House Photo By Julius Shulman
Image source: artnet.com

Shulman brilliantly captures the details of this Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollywood Hills home.

Kun Residence

Kun Residence Photo By Julius Shulman
Image source: juliusshulman.org

This photo of the Kun Residence by Richard Neutra was Shulman’s first architectural job and what launched his career.

Case Study House #8

Case Study House #8 Photo By Julius Shulman
Image source: tumblr.com

Shulman photographs the interior of this residence in the Pacific Palisades designed by Charles and Ray Eames.

Malin Residence - Chemosphere

Malin Residence Chemosphere Photo By Julius Shulman
Image source: juliusshulman.org

Dubbed “the most modern home built in the world” by Encyclopedia Britannica, Shulman beautifully captures this unique design by John Lautner.

Fun Facts About Julius Shulman

  • Shulman got his first big break from a photo he took with an amateur Kodak Vest Pocket camera.
  • Shulman is the only photographer to be granted an honorary lifetime membership to the American Institute of Architects.
  • The Shulman House is designated as a Cultural Heritage Monument in LA.

Inspired by Shulman's work and thinking a photo-worthy home is in your future? Search With Style® for Mid-Century Modern and Modern/Contemporary homes for sale near you.

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