The Berlage Archive: Julius Shulman (2000)

In this 2000 Berlage Institute lecture, titled “Neutra’s Architecture and Modernism in ,” American architectural photographer Julius Shulman outlines a twofold mission: to introduce his two new books, Modernism Rediscovered, and Neutra: Complete Works, and to speak to architectural students and educators who are responsible for the future of the field. Highly jovial and personable, Shulman starts off on a playful tone, inviting audience members to sit on the floor next to him and insisting on the informality of his lecture; he begins by describing how he met Richard Neutra, purely by chance, and made history with the iconic photograph of the Kaufman House, solely through a rebellious desire to pursue a beautiful sunset.

Shulman speaks of Neutra both affectionately and critically. He advises, “Those of you who hope to be architects, please be human about how people live in your house. Don’t wipe it clean and empty the way Neutra used to do it, because he was more interested in the image of a house – pure architecture, without furniture.” The lecture introduces Shulman’s photographs of Modernist homes in California, including Frank Gehry‘s first house, Shulman’s own house and studio by Raphael Soriano, and works by Frank Lloyd Wright and Buckminster Fuller, before moving on to briefly introduce projects from his vast archives. Pierluigi Serraino joins him halfway through the lecture to discuss the process of writing their publication, Modernism Rediscovered, and the responsibilities of an architectural photographer.

The lecture demonstrates the incredible breadth of Shulman’s portfolio, his fascinating thought process, and an indefatigable spirit. When describing the moment when he broke away from Neutra’s admonishment in order to photograph the exquisite sky above the Kaufman House, the iconic photographer enthuses,”Don’t ever hesitate. If you want to do something, whether it’s to design a house or kiss a beautiful woman, or whatever you want to do, do it! No one’s going to stop you.”

Video: The late Pedro E. Guerrero speaking at the Julius Shulman Institute

Last April, we announced the opening of Pedro E. Guerrero: Photographs of Modern Life – a retrospective exhibition organized by the Julius Shulman Institute (JSI) at that honored the incredible life and career of the great 20th century architectural photographer, Pedro E. Guerrero (1917-2012). JSI was thankful to have Guerrero join the exhibition’s opening night, where he entertained the crowd with his charismatic personality as he shared fascinating stories from his life.

Sadly, the world is still in mourning over Guerrero’s passing last week, as he died at the age of 95 on Thursday, September 13, 2012, at his home in Florence, .

Woodbury University and the Julius Shulman Institute would like to share a few words from JSI director Emily Bills:

“The Julius Shulman Institute is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Pedro E. Guerrero. We were honored to host a retrospective of his work last April, which included the lively, and often hilarious, conversation he shared with Hunter Drohojowska-Philp. Guerrero will be remembered as one of the great architectural photographers of the twentieth century, capturing the essence of work by Frank Lloyd Wright, Edward Durell Stone, Marcel Breuer, Joseph P. Salerno, and many others. He will be dearly missed.”

Read Guerrero’s obituary in the New York Times and the LA Times to learn more about his epic life and career. Continue after the break to view some of his best photographs that were featured at the exhibition.