Taschen America Llc
Our contact with great architecture tends to be indirect, through representations. Few of us have seen the Taj Mahal, yet we all know exactly what it looks like. The useful act of photographing buildings can be an art, particularly when the photographer's presence seems to recede, and a great architectural shot suggests that you're seeing things as they are rather than through someone else's prism.
Julius Shulman has documented buildings in that seemingly transparent way for more than six decades. This meticulous and prolific craftsman was in the right place, California, at the right time, the golden age of West Coast modern residential architecture that spanned the 1930s to the 1960s. Richard Neutra helped him get his start, and he recorded early modernists such as Wright, Schindler, Soriano, Harris, Frey, Ain, Stone, Gropius, Kahn, and Neutra, as well as younger ones such as Goff, Lautner, Ellwood, Koenig, Drake, Killingsworth, Eames, Greene, Legoretta, and even early Frank Gehry. His view camera captured the glamour of hillside steel-and-glass houses cantilevered above the city lights, the serenity of desert vacation homes at dusk, and the clean-lined ingenuity of young architects working on modest budgets.
Shulman's text is a knotty quasi biography, but some good stories lurk there. This is a physically impressive book: its 300 large-format pages contain 500 superbly reproduced color and black-and-white photos that are worth more than the proverbial thousand words each. --John Pastier