July 16, 2009 / 11:42 PM / 10 years ago

Famed architectural photographer Shulman dies at 98

Julius Shulman, noted architectural photographer, holds a poster featuring one of his most famous photographs, "Case Study House No. 22", during an interview at his home in Los Angeles in this June 27, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Fred Prouser/Files

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Photographer Julius Shulman, whose images of California’s modernist architecture drew worldwide admiration for the minimalist mid-century style, had died at the age of 98.

The man many consider to be the finest architectural photographer in history died on Wednesday night at his Laurel Canyon home, said gallery owner Craig Krull, who recently opened an exhibition of Shulman’s latest work.

Shulman’s most famous image was a 1960 photo titled Case House Study #22, in which two women sit in a glass house seemingly suspended in mid-air with the lights of Los Angeles twinkling below.

Shulman got his first big break in 1936 with a series of acclaimed photos for famed Los Angeles modernist Richard Neutra that revealed his unique sense of composition and light. Soon after, Shulman was sought out by other giants, most notably Frank Lloyd Wright.

The tens of thousands of photographs Shulman took in the 1950s and 1960s project the optimism the modernists had that they could enhance life through good design.

Shulman retired in the 1970s, disgusted by the turn architecture took with post-modernism. But he returned to work in recent years as a new generation admired the sleek architectural style he took around the world.

“They are discovering architecture and discovering the power of photography,” Shulman told Reuters in a 2008 interview.

Shulman was featured in modern style magazines like Wallpaper and Dwell and is the subject of a new documentary — “Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman” — narrated by Dustin Hoffman.

Reporting by Mary Milliken; Editing by Steve Gorman and John O'Callaghan

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