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98 in the Shade of L.A.

Julius Shulman at work in 1960. Image © Julius Shulman & Juergen Nogai.
Last week I was speaking with a friend, another photographer, and he asked me, “What’s your plan” “Plan?” I replied. “Yeah, plan,” he said. “You know, what about when you’re sixty-five? These cameras are heavy, clients want long days. You always carry two, right?” That is right, I always have two – a combination of always having a backup with me and often shooting with two at a time. It’s a model I follow whether I am with assistants or on my own. Two pro bodies, three to five lenses. The last time I weighed my basic camera bag I think it was at least thirty-five pounds.

Well, I’ve got twenty years yet to figure out what I’ll do at sixty-five but lest I jump to conclusions in comes the story of Julius Shulman, architectural photographer. Julius is ninety-eight and even if you have never heard of him you know his work. It’s embedded in the culture and it still exerts a strong influence in the collective vision of Los Angeles and in fictional worlds such as Tony Stark’s house in the movie, Iron Man.

Susan Stamberg of National Public Radio has a great story on Julius which ran this morning and NPR also has a gallery of Julius’ work. Be sure to expand the gallery to full-screen.

In case you are wondering what to do at ninety-eight, you can photograph houses at $6k a pop.