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Modern living, 365 days a year

September 23, 2004|Steven Barrie-Anthony

Six more years, and renowned architectural photographer Julius Shulman will be a centenarian. But Shulman, whose iconic black-and-white oeuvre captures the stark beauty of Southern California Modernist architecture -- think: Frank Lloyd Wright, Pierre Koenig, Richard Neutra, Rudolf Schindler -- has yet to put down his camera. There's no indication that he will.

When a Los Angeles County Museum of Art fundraising group contacted Shulman recently for permission to publish a calendar of his photographs, with proceeds to benefit LACMA, he says, "I was pleased to do it. We all agreed, let's make this a little different."

The 2005 Julius Shulman Calendar ($26 from the LACMA bookstore; available at bookstores and museums nationwide) is certainly different: a dozen immaculate, 11-by-14-inch loose-leaf Shulman photographs on heavy stock, with elegant date demarcations beneath.

A month apiece is hardly enough time to study each of these masterpieces; chances are, your favorites will wind their way into frames.

When LACMA feted Shulman a few weeks back -- a dual celebration of his 94th birthday and the calendar's debut -- Shulman got up to speak and "began flirting, asking us to come over to his house and see his birds," says Jan Weimer of AMC Public Relations. "But before you knew it, he had said the most beautiful things about nature, about seeing and enjoying the moment."

Chalk it up to Shulman's charm, if you will, but by the end of the celebration the museum had sold $9,000 worth of calendars. Shulman says the people who bought them all remarked, "I've never seen anything so beautiful." That, he says, "is a compensation in itself."


-- Steven Barrie-Anthony

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