Modernist photographer Julius Shulman dead at 98 July 17 2009

1247841884798Julius Shulman's nighttime shot of Ann Lightbody and Cynthia Murfee in Case Study House No. 22, the Stahl residence in the Hollywood Hills, overlooking Sunset Boulevard.We had a few readers bring to our attention the death Wednesday of photographer Julius Shulman in Los Angeles at the age of 98. Shulman earned his reputation shooting the modernist designs of architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Pierre Koenig. The Los Angeles Times has written a nice obituary for Shulman.

After the Depression, Shulman's studio was one of three in the United States to which Arts & Architecture, Architectural Forum and other magazines turned to document the exciting new work being done in architecture.

Shulman's 1960 photograph of Koenig's Case Study House No. 22 -- a glass-walled, cantilevered structure hovering above the lights of Los Angeles, became one of the most famous architectural pictures ever taken in the United States. It was, as architecture critic Paul Goldberger wrote in the New York Times, "one of those singular images that sum up an entire city at a moment in time."

But Shulman's work went well beyond merely taking beautiful pictures of houses and buildings. His mission was to use his photography to build the reputation of the architects who were bringing innovative design to the West. Indeed, his photographs were, by and large, all that most people would ever see of noted architects' works, many of which were later destroyed.