Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman (2009)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
For years, journalists have pontificated at length on the importance of modernist architecture in contemporary society, even dissecting its angles, proportions, and overall aesthetics. But what of the visual artists responsible for bringing views of this architecture to the mass public? Time and again, architecture photographer Julius Shulman perfected this unusual and highly specialized art form, defining not modernist architecture per se (he left that up to the designers) but how the overall public perceives modernist architecture. Utilizing a pronounced visual style, this program joins Shulman on a cross-country journey to many of the structures he immortalized with his camera, complemented by the artist's rich and detailed recollections of his work. … More
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Critic Reviews for Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman
Precise as a blueprint, the film convinces you of Shulman's worth (and, by extension, of the architects he helped immortalize) without imparting the passion the filmmakers so obviously feel. It's functional, but it could have used a little more form.
Although Shulman died after Visual Acoustics was completed, this stylish film reminds us that great images endure after bodies and buildings crumble.
Eric Bricker's glowing portrait of Shulman uses its subject's photos to persuade the viewer that one picture is worth a thousand architectural masterworks.
Bricker doesn't have much filmic pizazz, but Shulman's photos encompass the entire history of modernist architecture.
The Shulman we see is a man of sharp humor, with an ego to match some of the architects he worked for. He's been slowed down by time, but relishes all the attention lavished on him as a living master.
Visual Acoustics is nominally about the life and career of landmark Southern California architectural photographer Julius Shulman, but it's more about the buildings he photographed than it is about him. Which is probably the way he'd like it.
Audience Reviews for Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman
I am a great fan of modernism and Shulman's work. I was really hoping for more of his work and perspective, Bricker's film just has a post-modern feel that would make Shulman roll over in his grave. If Shulman had lived through the completion of the project the would have added some much needed editing. The movie promises some insight into Frank Loyd Wright, but it is very brief. Beyond allot of Shulman's work and looking into work and visiting the houses 50+ year later, there is some insight into many architects that are overlooked, but pivotal in the movement. Not a great film but I give Bricker credit for capturing Shulman before he was gone.
Aaaaaaaand I need to practice more.
A wonderful documentary about an architectural photographer that made many an architect's career. Without Shulman there would be no modernism. His captivating photographs propelled the idea that form follows function more so than the architects.
Highly recommended for fans of architecture, design, and photography.
Now available on Netflix.
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