By Cristy Meiners
Watching Visual Acoustics, Eric Bricker’s documentary about photographer Julius Schulman, reminded me what I love about my job: the opportunity to learn about the fascinating and talented people that I have somehow missed up until the moment that they (generally in book, CD, or film form) cross my desk. Julius Schulman established himself more than 50 years ago as THE photographer of modernist architecture, and even today his images are still as beautiful and as relevant as they were when he first clicked the shutter all those years ago. The modernist buildings of Los Angeles, designed by men like Rudolf Schindler and Richard Neutra during the 1940s through the 1960s, are based on the clean lines of the 1930s International style. These L.A. architects took advantage of Southern California’s sunny Mediterranean climate, allowing them to incorporate huge panels of glass and open courtyards into their designs. Schulman used his camera to capture these structures as livable works of art, and then published them in magazines for audiences all over the world.
Schulman’s photographs were an important part of the modernist revival that began in the 1990s and is still going strong today. Although they are images of specific places at a specific time, his pictures wouldn’t be out of place on the cover of a 2009 issue of Architecture Digest.