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Documentary On Photographer Julius Shulman To Be Screened

Published: April 15, 2013

“A documentary titled “Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman” will be screened on Thursday, April 25, at 7 p.m. in the University Theater (UTC 108) in an event held in conjunction between the Film and Electronic Arts Department and the Department of Industrial Design’s Duncan Anderson Design Lecture Series.

The film about architectural photographer Julius Shulman will be introduced by Industrial Design’s David Teubner, and the film’s director Eric Bricker will be interviewed by Film and Electronic Arts Chair Jerry Mosher. Admission is free.

Shulman (1910-2009) was a photographer of architecture, naturalist, educator and commentator on urban form. Shulman’s images played a major role in crafting the image of Los Angeles and the Southern California lifestyle to the rest of the nation and world during the 1950s and 1960s. His images epitomized the singular beauty of Southern California’s modernist architecture movement and brought its iconic structures and designers to the attention of the general public.

“Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman” won the Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for best documentary at the Palm Springs International film Festival, the Audience Award for best documentary at the Austin Film Festival, the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at the Lone Star International Film Festival and Outstanding Achievement in documentary filmmaking at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

Director Eric Bricker, who has been a member of CSULB’s California Repertory Company, received his B.A. in English literature from Indiana University and spent the next few years acting with CalRep and the Utah Shakespearean Festival. After starting a design consulting firm, Bricker met Shulman in 1999 and a friendship was forged. Recognizing the extraordinary amount of humanity and profundity Shulman and his work possessed, Bricker put into motion “Visual Acoustics.”

“The subject poses an interesting challenge for a documentary filmmaker,” Mosher noted. “How does a moving-image maker best represent the work of a still photographer, who in turn is representing the stillness of modern architecture? It’s noted in the film that Shulman’s masterful use of light and composition often heightened the homes’ artistic dimension. And Eric Bricker meets this challenge by using cinema to demonstrate Shulman’s creative methods, which makes us see his photographs as more than mere documents—they are works of art in their own right.”

Julius Shulman art

Mosher believes the screening reflects the strength of Film and Electronic Arts at CSULB and its documentary program. “Student interest in making documentaries is rising because they cost less than feature films,” he said. “All you need is a camera and an engaging subject.”

Mosher encourages the campus and community to see this documentary on the big screen. “The film does a spectacular job of capturing Julius Shulman’s portrayal of Southern California architecture,” he said. “A sense of humanity is always present in his work, even when the human figure is absent from the actual photographs. Some of the buildings photographed by Shulman have since been demolished or re-purposed, lending to the popularity of his images. He is now considered the preeminent architectural photographer of the 20th century.”

–Richard Manly