Art of Space,
“an emphasis on wit, ornament, and historical reference. It was a shift that would ultimately drive Julius Shulman into retirement.” However, with the resurgence of interest in Modernist architecture in the 1990s, Shulman’s photographs became an important resource. “Every time I’d go see Julius, he would say, ‘It never ends,’” Bricker said. “He would, every day, get publications from all over the world utilizing his photographs.”
Shulman’s relationship with the gems of mid-century American Modernist homes continued as late as 2006, when the National Trust for Historic Preservation hired him to document Philip Johnson’s singular Glass House in Connecticut.
“You can run into an architect who has a beef with Julius Shulman, because of the emphasis on photographs rather than the actual buildings,” Tom Ford says in the film, “but Julius would talk about how architects often didn’t even know how to look at their own buildings, because they’re looking at different things. Often, the houses in real life are not nearly as beautiful as Julius’ pictures. He was a master at shifting the planes around to, in a way, distill the essence of the building into one particular shot or to even enhance the strong lines of an already powerful building and raise it to a different level.”
Toward the end of Visual Acoustics, Bricker shows Shulman working with archivists from the Getty Research Institute, to which he donated his negatives and prints. “Julius said, ‘Make sure everything you see and hear and feel gets put into that one frame,’ and he was able to do that, and do it with a sense of movement and grace and elegance,” Bricker recalled in our interview. “But, even toward the end, he couldn’t get his head around the idea of these images as fine art. He would laugh when the Getty people would come with their white gloves on. He’d have a bunch of students, and he would pull out original prints from the ’60s and just toss them out to them.”