Just when you thought you’d seen all of Julius Shulman’s famous photographs, a new book comes out and completely changes the way you see the photographer himself. Last Friday, about 75 architects, students, friends, and fans at the Julius Shulman Institute in Burbank were wowed by many of Shulman’s rarer images at a panel discussion of Sam Lubell and Douglas Wood’s Julius Shulman Los Angeles: Birth of a Modern Metropolis.
Through his lens, Shulman had witnessed a very unique period of LA’s history: from a city reliant on public transportation to an auto-centric megalopolis; from a place that borrowed architectural tradition to one that reinvented the type of modern design we identify with it today. And the entire time, Shulman was snapping photos documenting the changing city. Lubell and Wood spent over a year digging through the archives at the Getty Research Institute to find new and unseen photos that could help tell this story.
The panel included Shulman’s gallerist Craig Krull; the Getty Research Institute’s Anne Blecksmith (who knows the archives better than anyone else on the planet); Shulman’s daughter Judy McKee; Lubell and Wood; and moderator and architectural historian Alan Hess. Among the special guests in the audience was Dion Neutra (above), son of Richard Neutra, who admitted to being recruited to hold tree branches in the frames of Shulman’s shots so the photos would look more vegetated!
Afterwards, the group was treated to drinks and delicious appetizers by Large Marge Sustainables while Lubell and Wood chatted with fans (including Sam’s parents!) and signed books. We highly recommend buying the book, which was designed by friends of de LaBVolume. Even for someone who isn’t an architecture fan, this is a beautiful and extremely surprising look at Los Angeles from one of its biggest boosters.
And who won the evening’s giveaway? Jonathan Louie got our trivia question correct and received a signed copy of the book. (Even though he’s throwing what look like some “Westside” gang symbols here, we still love him.) The trivia question was: Which architect designed Julius Shulman’s home? Would you have known the answer?