27 June 2010

Modernism Week: Of Modernism and Legacy

This is part 1 of a week of posts related to modernism. An explanation as to why there is a week of posts on modernism can be found here: LINK

Julius Shulman is the the world's most celebrated, respected photographer of modernism. It is his photo of the Stahl House (Case Study House #22) that in many ways defined Los Angeles and architectural modernism.

Watching Julius Shulman interact with his subjects, the structures that were his life's work in capturing, was mesmerizing. Shulman could almost relate to the building he was charged with photographing. He could sense it's potential, find it's good side, and place it in such a light so as to capture it in an almost eternal sense. He took an architectural style that can lend itself to coldness and practicality and infused great beauty. He found the nuances that others could not see. He, very simply, defined modernism for the world to see.

Almost as captivating as Shulman and his work was the way that architects, designers, and homeowners received him. He was uniformly honored and cherished. He was beyond architectural squabbles and personal entanglements. He was revered. He was held in a place of suspended deity, a stellar being that was at once orbiting on the perihpery of a movement and completely one with the movement itself.

Julius Shulman was purposed to one thing. He caputred the best of modernism. And he captured it better than anyone else. It is his legacy.

So the questions becomes: What one thing are you purposed to do?

What is it for which people will remember you?

What will your legacy be?

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