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Julius Shulman Photography Archive, 1935-2009

Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog records for this collection: 2004.R.10 and 2011.R.2. Click here for the access policy.
Shulman (Julius) Photography Archive

Scope and Content of Collection

The Julius Shulman Photography Archive documents Shulman's career as an architectural photographer from 1935 to 2009. The collection contains 537 linear feet (more than 260,000 negatives, prints, transparencies and related printed material) of vintage and modern photographs, contact prints, negatives, transparencies, color slides, clippings, papers and indices. The material was generated and collected by Shulman.

Series I contains indices organized numerically by job number and shoot date, alphabetically by architect, or alphabetically by client. The series also includes wall calendars maintained and annotated by Shulman as well as diaries.

The bulk of the archive documents the modern movement in architecture spanning 60 years and serves as a historical record of the Southern California landscape. Shulman's photography highlights the important relationship between architect and photographer through his strong grasp of design philosophy and his aesthetic sensibility. Series II. Architects, is rich in the projects by California-based architects such as Richard J. Neutra, R.M. Schindler, Raphael Soriano, Gregory Ain, J.R. Davidson, John Lautner and Pierre Koenig. The architects in series II. were intensively documented by Shulman and were separated out from his other projects for ease of access. Particularly noteworthy in this sereis are the photographs of Richard J. Neutra's Kaufmann House (Palm Springs, Calif.) or John Lautner's Chemosphere (Los Angeles, Calif.).

Series III. Projects includes documentaion of the Case Study House Program, sponsored by Arts and Architecture and John Entenza. Particulalry note worthy in thise series is Pierre Koenig's Case Study House No. 22 (Los Angeles, Calif.). Also included are photographs relating to the publication Courtyard Housing in Los Angeles (1992) as well as photographs for the American Institute of Architecture's Cultural Heritage Board Committee for the City of Los Angeles.

Series IV. Job Numbers, makes up an extensive portion of the archive documenting projects by lesser-known architects as well as major commercial firms in Southern California (Welton Becket, Victor Gruen, and others). While the bulk of the collection documents architectural projects, also included are product and furniture photographs for designers and other photographs relating to commercial products such as those produced by the United States Gypsum Co. and the Libbey Owens Ford Glass Company. The bulk of the archive reflects Shulman's preference for the dramatic contrast and depth of black and white film. He also was one of few architectural photographers to use infrared film. Click here for the finding aid for Series IV.

Series V. Display photographs is comprised of large format prints mounted on board or foam core. The display photographs were used by Shulman for exhibiting and publicity purposes.

The collection is comprised primarily of photographic materials and may contain black and white 8x10 prints, 4x5 black-and-white contact prints, 4x5 black and white negatives, 4x5 color transparencies, 4x5 color negatives. Other photographic formats include 8x10 color photographs, 4x5 color contact prints, color transparencies, 8x10 black and white negatives, Polaroids and slides. Some 8x10 transparencies exist; in most instances these are enlargements of existing 4x5 transparencies. Not all jobs have color photography.

Papers includes correspondence, invoices, clippings from publications, media relating to architects whom Shulman worked with or projects that Shulman worked on, exhibition materials, print request documentation, printing notes for photography and sometimes architectural plans.

Two boxes containing approximately 290 additional items (previous hit 2011.R.2 next hit) were acquired in 2011 as a gift of Ruth Wallach on behalf of the USC Libraries.

Selected photographs have been digitized and are available online:

Arrangement note

Organized in five series: Series I. Indices; Series II. Architects; Series III. Projects; Series IV. Job numbers; Series V. Display photographs.

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