The master of balanced light, geometric compositions and empathetic photographic style; Julius Shulman.

Could Julius Shulman have ever imagined that a shot he took while photographing Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House no:22 would become the most famous photograph of Los Angeles and that his photographs would bring fame to the now iconic mid-century modern architectural style? We may never find answers to these questions, but we do know that the picture Shulman took on 9 May 1960 maintains its reputation after 63 years. In the image taken from a corner of a house on the hills of Los Angeles, two elegantly dressed women chat in the glass-wall lounge with the urban sprawl down below in the backdrop. This frame, reminiscent of a voyeur’s work, reflects the essence of the photographic genius of Shulman who is undoubtedly the father of architectural photography. This image of Case Study House no:22 does not only focus on the architectural details but also on the life lived by its occupants. These frames that come as a package including these two characteristic features allow the viewer to imagine themselves living that life.

“I had been blessed with an innate, built-in, quality of design composition–of composition, not just design composition.”

Shulman went beyond photographing architectural structures as inanimate objects, transforming them into living images. His unique photographic style got him closer to the architects who have left their mark on history and he became instrumental in the rise of the mid-century modern architectural style. Even though they already existed, his work became the lifeline of decoration magazines and enabled them to reach a wider audience. His photographs now provide a documentation of a significant architectural inventory and an important reference for keeping record. Julius Shulman’s legacy continues to inspire contemporary architects, designers and photographers alike. Come join us as we explore Shulman’s architectural perspective through some of his iconic photos.