Julius Shulman

Through the Lens of Julius Shulman

At BoutiqueHomes, we love great design – but we also know how important it is to photograph it well. That’s why we have always admired Julius Shulman, the legendary American architectural photographer who took a vast array of modernist design masterpieces and froze them in time. His work captures the spirit of an era in southern California, and around the world.

Julius Shulman

In 1936, as a budding photographer, Shulman was invited to photograph Richard Neutra’s Kun Residence in the Hollywood Hills, and something about his work caught the architect’s attention. It was the start of a career in which Shulman documented the work of countless 20th-century architects – from Frank Lloyd Wright to Charles Eames, John Lautner and R. M. Schindler. A few years before he died in 2009 (at the age of 94), he bequeathed a staggering 260,000 negatives to Los Angeles’ Getty Center.

Julius Shulman

His work captures a moment in time, the modernist movement that began in or around the year of Shulman’s birth – 1910. Modernism was a shift in design perceptions in response to the technological changes of the 20th century – a use of new materials, a shift away from historical precedents and a simplification of forms. As the English artist William Morris famously said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

Julius Shulman

Shulman’s photography created a vision of Southern California’s mid-century lifestyle that was projected around the world. His photographs capture the structure, function and design of buildings in their natural surroundings, and often include the people who occupy them – making him as much a cultural historian as an artist. As he said himself, “I think the photographer can go beyond the artist. I can create a summation of the total image of what was in the architect’s mind, the physical aspects of the structure, and, of course, the spirit.”

Julius Shulman

At BoutiqueHomes, we know that a beautiful home is even more alluring when it is well photographed. Here’s our choice of Julius Shulman’s most appealing images – the pictures that resonate the most with what we love. The color makes us think of travel – happy, dreamy days spent lounging by the pool. The design opens a capsule and takes us back to another place in time. And the people in the images remind us that, as cool as a house may be, it’s always better when lived in.

Julius Shulman

Roberts Residence by Weston, Byles & Rudolph – 1953. Malibu, California

Julius Shulman

William Burgess House. Palm Springs, California

Julius Shulman

Spring Hotel, Bequia, by Crites & McConnell – 1967. St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Julius Shulman

Leeds Residence – designed by architect Raphael Soriano. Los Angeles, California

Julius Shulman

The Mirman House Recreational Pavilion – 1968. Los Angeles, California

Julius Shulman

Frey House by Albert Frey – 1940. Palm Springs, California

Julius Shulman

Albert Frey – floating dining table suspended by cables from the ceiling. Palm Springs, CA

Julius Shulman

Frey House by Albert Frey – 1940. Palm Springs, California

Julius Shulman

Kaufmann House by Richard Neutra – 1946. Palm Springs, California

A three-volume expanded collection of Julius Shulman’s works, Modernism Rediscovered, has just been released by Taschen.

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