Share “Focus on design: Architectural...”

Focus on design: Architectural photographer zooms in on some of Oklahoma's buildings

By Steve Lackmeyer Published: September 17, 2008

/> Shulman's visit started with an inquiry by Lynne Rostochil, who had discovered Shulman's photos of First Christian Church, which had been designed by her grandfather R. Duane Conner.

"We began looking at all the photos he had done, and we were amazed at the work he had done here,” Rostochil said.

Good design isn't always obvious
Although much of his career was spent in the west, Shulman completed 60 projects in Oklahoma. Butzer said efforts are now under way to borrow some of the photos and display them locally. But not all of the Oklahoma photos feature what one might think of as great architecture. Shulman laughs as he recalls how his shot of 30 urinals along a wall at Tulsa's then new American Airlines plant ended up being used as a double-page advertisement in Architectural Record.

"The advertisement was so dramatic — who ever runs a two-page advertisement of urinals?” Shulman said. "And the Crane Company was filled with work — architects saw the advertisement, were impressed with the importance of the project and then everyone was calling the distributors. They got so much business from that advertisement — you wouldn't believe it.”

Shulman said it was his pleasure to share what he saw in Oklahoma with the rest of the world.

"Oklahoma is very much alive, architecturally,” Shulman said. "Oklahoma is not unknown.”

Who is Julius Shulman?
Julius Shulman was born in Brooklyn on Oct. 10, 1910. By the mid-1930s, he had moved to California and taken his first shots of Richard Neutra's Kun House in Hollywood.

He soon took photographs of work by nearly every influential modern architect, including Raphael Soriano, Charles Eames, Gregory Ain, and Frank Lloyd Wright. By the 1950s, Shulman's photographs were the face of modern architecture and "California living” for the rest of the world.

In the 1960s, as part of the Case Study House Program, Shulman photographed Pierre Koenig's "Case Study House #22,” The Stahl House. The photograph of the steel and glass house with its linear roof would become an icon of modern architecture. Shulman is credited with promoting the California lifestyle of the 1950s and 60s, as well as the careers of the architects of that time. His body of work is housed at the Getty Center in Los Angeles and is considered the definitive record of the clean modernity of the mid-20th Century.


  1. 1
    Center of the Universe Festival announces more bands
  2. 2
    Tulsa cold-case murder suspect arrested in Texas more than year after DNA connection found
  3. 3
    Oops, wrong date: State prosecutors fail to show up in embezzlement case against former Rogers...
  4. 4
    Former Oklahoma police official charged in assault
  5. 5
    Savor the South at one of these summer festivals
+ show more