Julius Shulman, the gregarious photographer whose iconic images of modern architecture defined the style, died last night at the age of 98. Born in Brooklyn in 1910 to immigrant Jewish parents, his family moved to Boyle Heights when he was a boy and his devotion to Los Angeles continued throughout his long life. His work was commissioned primarily for publications—including art, architecture and shelter magazines. But his clean, romantic views of Amercian architecture transcend the publications in which they appeared. He worked nearly until his final days, and often made himself available for interviews, including sitting down with the Jewish Journal in 2002 and again in 2007.
I had a chance to visit with Shulman in 2005 for an article I wrote for the New York Times soon after Shulman sold his vast photographic archives to the Getty, an accomplishment followed by a major museum show there. At the time of my interview at his Hollywood Hills studio, Shulman was juggling nonstop phone calls for new assignments, even as he reminisced with absolute clarity about pictures he’d taken half a century before. Ever the gentleman, he took me on a tour of his studio, his home and his gardens.
He was one of Los Angeles’ greatest artists, and he will be missed.