Visual Acoustics (dir. Eric Bricker) is a magnificent documentary about Julius Shulman – the man who pioneered Southern California’s Modernist Architecture with his photographs.
A man of wit and passion for the environment, he worked along side architects such as Frank Gehry (Disney Hall), Albert Frey (Frey House), and Richard Neutra (Kauffman Residence). Most of his photographs were taken in black and white to emphasize the contrasting geometric patterns found in these modern homes. Some say his photographs, carefully taken with the concept of a “one-point perspective”, make these houses seem even more beautiful than they are in real life; that his prints actually sell these buildings in the market.
One of his famous photographs (seen above in the poster) is of the Stahl House – Case Study House #22 designed by Pierre Koenig in 1960. It sits atop the Hollywood Hills (known to be an unbuildable site) overlooking the city of Los Angeles.
den / kitchen
bedroom / pool & deck
(photos by julius shulman)
The Stahl House is a popular set for film and fashion shoots even to this day. It was used in movies such as Galaxy Quest, Playing By Heart, and The Big Lebowski as Jackie Treehorn’s home. It was also featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as a safehouse!
If you’re interested in photography and architecture – heck, if you’re interested in art in general – I HIGHLY suggest you watch this documentary. Shulman is now a very big inspiration of mine. Sure he’s worked with big names in the architecture world, but in the end, he’s really an ordinary guy who is very passionate about what he does! And with that, I’m going to make it one of my life goals to visit at least one of the houses he has shot.
Julius and his garden
(click thru photos for source)