Julius Shulman, the dean of Los Angeles photographers, died Wednesday at home in Laurel Canyon. He was 98 years old. “He led a charmed life right up to the end,” Shulman's daughter Judy McKee told Los Angeles Magazine editor Mary Melton. Here's Melton's profile of Shulman from the January, 2009 issue, plus an oral history of the famous Case Study House #22 photo and a slide show at the magazine's site. "One of those singular images that sum up an entire city at a moment in time," architecture critic Paul Goldberger wrote of the Stahl house photo. "If Los Angeles had a list of municipal treasures, Shulman would certainly be on it," Judy Graeme wrote in 2007 in her Observing an L.A. Photographer series at Native Intelligence. Graeme wrote a reminiscence in 2005 about Shulman photographing her childhood home in Sherman Oaks when she was six years old.
From the L.A. Times obituary by former staff writer Claudia Luther:
Starting with Richard Neutra in 1936, Shulman's roster of clients read like a who's who of pioneering contemporary architecture: Rudolf M. Schindler, Gregory Ain, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Eames, Raphael S. Soriano, John Lautner, Eero Saarinen, Albert Frey, Pierre Koenig, Harwell Harris and many others. His work was contained in virtually every book published on Modernist architects.
"He has a sense of visual bravura of composition," wrote the late Robert Sobieszek, photography curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, "so that he can take a rather mundane house and make it look exciting, and take a spectacular house and make it look triply spectacular."
Shulman had "a profound effect on the writing and teaching of architectural history and understanding architecture, especially Southern California modernism," said Thomas Hines, UCLA professor emeritus of architecture and urban design. And Newsweek magazine's Cathleen McGuigan wrote that some of Shulman's photographs of modern glass houses in Palm Springs and Los Angeles "are so redolent of the era in which they were built you can practically hear the Sinatra tunes wafting in the air and the ice clinking in the cocktail glasses."
Photo of Shulman: Dan Winters