Legendary photographer Julius Shulman dies at 98

Julius Shulman, the legendary architectural photographer who documented homes in Malibu and throughout Los Angeles, died July 15. He was 98.

His iconic photograph of two ladies seated inside Pierre Koenig’s glass-walled, cantilevered Hollywood Hills home called Case Study House No. 22 became one of the most famous images in mid-Century design. The photo was described as a singular image that summed up an entire city in a moment in time.

Starting with Richard Neutra in 1936, Shulman’s clients read like a who’s who of contemporary architecture, with names like John Lautner, Frank Lloyd Wright and Rudolf M. Schindler, to name a few.

He had photographed homes in Malibu since the late 1920s and, in 2005, with photographer Juergen Nogai, photographed the book “Malibu: A Century of Living by the Sea.” “Perhaps the finest legendary architectural photographer around, Shulman has been photographing Malibu since 1929,” wrote John Evans of Diesel, A Bookstore in a write-up about the book.

Shulman was called a talented lens man who could “take a rather mundane house and make it look exciting and take a spectacular house and make it look triply spectacular.”

Newsweek magazine wrote that Shulman’s photographs of modern homes of the ’50s and ’60s “are so redolent of the era in which they were built that you can practically hear the Sinatra tunes wafting in the air and the ice clinking in the cocktail glasses.”

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Shulman was born on Oct. 10, 1910 in Brooklyn, New York.

When he was 10, his family moved to Southern California and settled in Boyle Heights. He graduated from Roosevelt High School where he took his only course in photography.

Shulman was honored with the American Institute of Architecture’s Gold Medal for photography in 1969.

His archive of 260,000 negatives, prints and transparencies has been acquired by the Getty Center.

Shulman, who remained active in photography until the end of his life, had been in declining health and died at his home in Los Angeles last week.

He is survived by his daughter and a grandson. His family requests that donations be made to the Los Angeles Conservancy or the Friends of the Los Angeles River.

-Kim Devore

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