Julius Shulman

Photographer | 1910-2009
Shulman at Cliff May House in West Covina. © J. Paul Getty Trust, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10)

Julius Shulman was a Los Angeles-based architectural photographer widely recognized for documenting the unique architecture of Southern California following World War II.

Shulman at Cliff May House in West Covina. © J. Paul Getty Trust, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10)

Louis Isadore KahnBorn in Brooklyn, Julius Shulman grew up on a farm in Connecticut prior to moving to Los Angeles as a young boy. While attending UCLA and UC Berkeley he earned a living selling his photographs as an amateur.

Among his earliest architectural photographs was of the Ford Building by Walter Dorwin Teague in Balboa Park in 1934. By 1936, he was enlisted by a friend, working as a draftsman for architect Richard Neutra, to take photographs of the newly completed Kun Residence. His Kodak Vest Pocket photographs reportedly engaged Neutra enough to cause a meeting from which Shulman to shoot Neutra’s projects. By 1950, Shulman’s studio was servicing a wide array of local, regional and national publications with images of Southern California’s unique buildings. Among them he is widely acclaimed for iconic images of Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House 22 in Los Angeles and Richard Neutra’s Kauffmann House in Palm Springs.

While Shulman’s visits to San Diego started in 1934, his work began in earnest in La Jolla (1946-1947) when he spent time in the coastal community shooting the work of architect William Kesling for Better Homes and Gardens, House Beautiful, House and Garden and LIFE magazines.

Through to 2007, Julius Shulman visited San Diego County to photograph the work of architects William Kesling, Frederick Liebhardt, John Lloyd Wright, Robert Mosher & Roy Drew, C.J. ‘Pat’ Paderewski, William Pereira & Charles Luckman, Dale Naegle, Edward Killingsworth, Richard Neutra, Henry Hester, Edward Fickett, Louis Kahn, Robert E. Alexander, Richard Wheeler, Paul Thoryk, Kendrick Bangs Kellogg, Ken Ronchetti, and Jonathan Segal among others. Today, these images, and related materials are housed at The Getty Research Institute for further research and publication.

Among his last professional visits to San Diego County was to shoot Norm Applebaum/s SunCatch project in 2006 and Jonathan Segal’s Lemperle House in 2007.

Julius Shulman died in his home designed by one of his clients - architect Raphael Soriano - at the age of 98. The Shulman Home and Studio today, is a Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Monument.

In September 2019, I curated twin exhibitions on the photographer’s legacy - Julius Shulman: Modern San Diego and Julius Shulman: Modern La Jolla.