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Photographing Architecture and Interiors Hardcover – April 1, 2000

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Balcony Press; 1 edition (April 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1890449075
  • ISBN-13: 978-1890449070
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 9.2 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,092,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

The long and illustrious career of architectural photographer Julius Shulman is a case study in how being in the right place at the right time can make one an eyewitness to history. In 1936, Shulman, a young slacker with a fondness for snapping pictures, took a few casual shots of a Los Angeles house that recently had been designed by a young architect whose wife was acquainted with Shulman's sister. The house happened to be the Kun House, and the architect, who liked the shots and commissioned more, happened to be the fledgling Richard Neutra. In short order, Neutra arranged for Shulman to photograph the works of Raphael Soriano, Rudolph Schindler, Gregory Ain, J.R. Davidson, and other colleagues who were pioneering the International style on the West Coast and throughout the U.S. By the 1950s, Shulman was shooting the work of Mies and Wright--by 1962, when Shulman published the first edition of this guide to the craft and business of architectural photography, his work was as inextricably linked with the modern movement in design as was Berenice Abbott's with Paris's Lost Generation.

For both those who are and aren't familiar with Shulman's oeuvre, this delightful updated edition of his stolidly titled Photographing Architecture and Interiorsmakes it completely clear why and how he forged that artistic and professional alliance with the masters of modernism. As a how-to book for both budding and experienced architectural photographers, it's still invaluable. Camera technology and changes in the profession itself might have dated some of the text here, but most of it focuses on principles and techniques that transcend matters of film- or camera-make, and addresses every possible aspect of the craft--from composition, angles, lenses, and lighting (for both exteriors and interiors, which Shulman always saw as contiguous) to shooting with both black-and-white and color film, darkroom manipulation, and special tips for residential, commercial, and landscape work. But, even if the book had no main text, the hundreds of shots of his own work (and their excellent "how I got that shot" captions) would speak and educate for themselves, and are what make this book such a classic for architectural shutterbugs and general lovers of modern architecture alike. It's simply a dramatically arranged and lighted panorama of the boldest design of the postwar era, with a particular emphasis on the glamorous residential projects of a brashly affluent Southern California, where Shulman did most of his work. The book abounds with outdoor and indoor shots of the sleekly linear homes of Soriano, Wright, Thornton Ladd, William Pereira, John Lautner, Cliff May, and many others; all of their drop-dead-cool rec rooms, swimming pools, pavilions and terraces, glass walls, and surrounding hillscapes captured with angles and lighting that compare to Orson Welles or Hitchcock in their drama and intrigue. There's also great representation of Shulman's commercial work here, too--to this day, no one has made such femmes fatales of corporate modernism as the Seagram Building, Lever House, and Pei's Mile-High Center in Denver look as sexy as Shulman did, and his shots of Charles Luckman's high-tech industrial shrines, like General Dynamics Astronautics in San Diego, are a sheer blast from an era that was besotted with the glamour of science, space, and the Bomb. There's a terrific interview with Shulman, up front, and the book concludes with his walk-through case study of the shoot for an entire Bel Air house.

But it's Shulman's decades-long interpretation of the work of his first client, Neutra, that attained a perfection on the level of such other collaborations of the era as Nelson Riddle's Capitol arrangements for Frank Sinatra or Hubert de Givenchy's couture for Audrey Hepburn. Fittingly, in the eloquent introduction that he wrote for this book, Neutra said of an artist of Shulman's rank, "With one gesture, he may evoke untold illusions ... [he] can and does speak to human souls." To wit, this timeless volume opens with those fateful first shots of the Kun House, its gleamingly white and shockingly stark facades staring out over the raw hills of Southern California. No matter that Shulman "snapped" them with his Eastman Vest-Pocket Camera; amid his vertiginous angles and bold chiaroscuro, one senses that something big is about to happen in American architecture. Of course, as we all know now, something did happen--and, as this update of an architectural classic makes clear, no one documented it as lucidly or stylishly as the richly talented Mr. Shulman. --Timothy Murphy

About the Author

Julius Shulman is one of the best-known architectural photographers in the United States. His work has appeared in most major magazines and numerous books, both at home and abroad. Shulman shot his first architecture photographs in 1936, when he went with

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By El Cholo Invisivel on September 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I learned a lot from this book. The only problem is that I was under the impression that it was updated, but it isn't really, and it was originally published in 1962. The only new information is an intro by Shulman and an interview with him. So, although his explanations and examples taught me a lot about light, use of camera movements and the trade of the architectural photographer, and there are many fantastic photos (of course), I found myself skimming through several sections which give completely outdated information on things like proper flash bulb size, modern new light meters (from the 50s) and places to publish photos (like Life magazine).
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Raffaello Palandri on August 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I'm a professional photographer, still young, and I work mainly with architectural subjects; well, this book is one of the most astonishing and well written I've ever read. All the photographs are simply wonderful, explanations are useful, too. This is a book I always like to read and read it again. Shulman made the history of architectural and interiors photographing, and his photographs are still so amazing, effective and at the time simple to be "read", that you only learn from each shot. The notes about the composition and lighting are, nowadays, still solid milestones to be mastered from beginners to pros. I strongly suggest this book !!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Francesco Venticento - advertising photographer on June 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Shulman was the master. The guy was lucky enough to breed the fresh air of modernism and make the most of it throughout his career. The study of his photographs is therefore mandatory for any contemporary architecture photographer and any insight into his work is a gift. This book is such a gift, although most of the techniques highlighted are definitely outdated. Personally I found revealing the case study illustrated at the end of the book. Buy it for the insights, leaving technique to other sources.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful insight into the mind of Julius Shulman and indeed, it does contain a lot of good information. In particular, I found the case study of great value. It has long been established as 'the classic' book on the field of architectural photography. Respect!

However, given that you want to know what you are buying, I will say the following...

I can't say I am a fan of J.S's writing style. It seems a little pressed and arduous. Dare I say it, he was a better photographer than a writer in my personal opinion. The technical *tone* (note I say *tone*, not content, which of course should be technical) somewhat impeded reading flow a little. It wasn't bad but I think it's apparent that writing fluid prose is a whole other skill set.

I think also, that beyond it's clear importance historically, the book's problems are a little compounded by the fact that the information and technology in particular - which comprises a good 40% of the book is largely non-applicable in today's world. Concepts of course don't change, but instruction on technology that you would be hard pressed to find if you wanted it may not provide young upstarts with the jump they need to get rolling.

Now, understand, I get there is still a place for all this stuff in a modern world, and of course, film temperatures and gels do much to educate one on the matters of color temperature mixes, etc, but the use of the actual equipment now is so incredibly niche that the vast majority of readers will be left wanting some mention of digital equivalents.

Of course, J.S. has long since departed our world and one can hardly blame him for not updating his book from the grave.
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