Read About Julius Shulman’s Photographic Brilliance

A man holding up a picture of an old building.

Julius Shulman was often referred to as “The leading architectural photographer of the 20th century” and "The recorder of American Modernism." he was born October 10, 1910, and peacefully passed away at his secluded Hollywood Hills home on July 15, 2009. Julius Shulman’s long journey as a photographer and environmentalist started by chance...

Born to a Russian Jewish family in Brooklyn, Julius Shulman moved to Los Angeles in 1920. His family opened and operated a dry goods store. Without formal photographic training, Shulman audited various classes at UCLA and UC Berkeley before returning to Los Angeles in 1936 to start his career as a professional photographer.

In 1936, Julius Shulman was taken to a construction site of what was to be known as the “Kun” house in Los Angeles. Julius Shulman took a series of shots with his pocket camera and sent them to the architect Richard Neutra. Neutra was so pleased with the shots that he purchased them and asked Julius Shulman to continue shooting his projects. As word spread of this young talented photographer, other architects hired Shulman, including Frank Lloyd Wright, R.M. Schindler, J.R. Davidson, Charles and Ray Eames, and the architect who would design Julius Shulman’s own Hollywood Hills home, Raphael Soriano. The home was later named a historic cultural monument by the Cultural Heritage Board in Los Angeles.

As the years passed, thanks to his famous client's extensive magazine spread (staff photographer for Arts & Architecture) and hundreds of articles in the LA Times, Julius Shulman’s accomplishments became internationally recognized. Soon, Julius Shulman was traveling on assignments worldwide for foreign architects, foreign governments, magazines, and newspapers. In 1969, Julius Shulman was awarded the AIAA Architectural Photography Medal for his accomplishments that memorialized the Southern California lifestyle for future generations.

Shortly before his death, Julius Shulman sold most of his archives to the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. The sale of approximately 260,000 of the over 275,000 negatives shot over Shulman's 75-year career was in keeping with Julius Shulman's intent to preserve his lifelong work for generations to come. Julius Shulman's love for teaching future generations about their environment and preserving the planet was not known to many. During one year alone, Julius Shulman donated over a million dollars to local universities and organizations.

Throughout his lifetime, Julius Shulman advised architects and photographers with proper techniques to boost their careers. Julius Shulman introduced these architects and photographers to his successful colleagues, who had established themselves in an attempt to further their careers and continue the challenging task of documenting the wonderful world of architecture that Julius loved so much.

A collage of people in various stages of work.