Many years ago this film was recommended by a friend (so creative and talented) and I finally got around to watching it. It had been in my Netflix queue and kept getting pushed down the list. I wish I hadn’t waited to so long – it was wonderful!
Visual Acoustics documents the life and career of Julius Shulman, an amazing architectural photographer who worked with the most influential and stellar architects (Neutra, Wright, Lautner) of the modernist movement. Most of his work was based in California and he is responsible for iconic images that almost everyone who follows art or architecture has seen.
Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House No. 22, 1960 (The Stahl House)
The Stahl House is a fantastic website about the house above, which is featured in the documentary. (I find it remarkable that the house is still owned by the Stahl family!) Great article about it, too, here.
That website had this to say about Julius Shulman:
“Working mostly in California, Mr. Shulman staged his photographs as tableaus to promote the idea of casual living in a Modernist context. Carefully composed and artfully lighted, his images promoted not only new approaches to home design but also the ideal of idyllic California living — a sunny, suburban lifestyle played out in sleek, spacious, low-slung homes featuring ample glass, pools and patios.
Mr. Shulman photographed buildings by some of the era’s best-known architects, including Richard Neutra, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles and Ray Eames, Mies van der Rohe and Oscar Niemeyer. But he also photographed less exalted examples of American buildings, like gas stations, apartment buildings and shopping malls.
Although his best-known work was made from the late 1940s through the 1960s, he continued to photograph into his 90s. In recent years a new appreciation of postwar architecture and design has contributed to renewed interest in Mr. Shulman’s work. In 2005 the Getty Research Institute acquired his archive of more than a quarter-million prints, negatives and transparencies.”
If you have any interest in modernism, 1950s-60s architecture, art, or photography, you need to watch this film. It is a fantastic story and a lovely tribute to a genius photographer.