Julius Shulman is celebrated as one of the 20th century's most iconic architectural photographers. He's also credited with helping to solidify the California Modernist style we know today thanks to his meticulous documentation of built work by John Lautner, Ray Kappe, Pierre Koenig, and Richard Neutra.
Not quite as well known is his oeuvre profiling the city of Los Angeles and its birth as a modern metropolis. Thankfully, we have Sam Lubell and Douglas Woods on deck for that task, culminating in the pair's recent Rizzoli Press release Julius Shulman, Los Angeles.
Page 7: Mobil Gas Station, Smith and Williams, Anaheim, 1956. © J Paul Getty Trust.
Lubell, who also happens to be West Coast editor of The Architect's Newspaper, explains in an interview with the LA Times that he and his co-author Woods began researching the book as a collection of interiors. Thanks to a tip from Anne Blecksmith at the Getty Research Institute, the pair dove into "the higher numbered boxes in the archives," i.e. "the ones that have been barely looked at, let alone published." As it turns out, less than a quarter of Shulman's archive depicts architecture by the LA heavyweights. Instead, his images of bridges, gas stations, civic offices, and highways shaped the way outsiders saw Los Angeles as a burgeoning metropolis.
Here's a preview, though we must recommend buying the book. And for those of you in New York, Rizzoli is hosting a book signing with the authors tomorrow night, Thursday May 21, at their store at 31 West 57th Street from 5:30 to 7 pm.
Page 43: A machine-age detail of the Sixth Street bridge, Los Angeles, 1933. © Craig Krull Gallery
Page 4: Looking over Griffith Observatory and Los Angeles from Mount Hollywood, 1936. © Craig Krull Gallery.
Page 26 top left: In the 1930s, oil fields such as this dotted the Southern California landscape. © Craig Krull Gallery.
Page 232: Interior view, Department of Water and Power headquarters, A.C. Martin & Associates, Los Angeles, 1965. © J Paul Getty Trust.
Page 36: Highway over rail yards, Los Angeles, 1934. © Craig Krull Gallery.
All images published with permission by Rizzoli.