In Focus: Architecture, a small, but exquisite exhibition at the Getty Museum, samples a favorite subject of photographers, from the invention of the medium in 1839 to the present. Architecture in Photographs is the title of a book by Gordon Baldwin, comprising 75 images from the Getty’s fabulous collection, and assistant photography curator Amanda Maddox has selected a third of these for her exhibition. Book and show offer a fascinating commentary on the evolution of the medium and the speed of its growth. Within a decade of the first images by Daguerre in France and Henry Fox Talbot in England, photographers had fanned out across the world, recording monuments, people and natural wonders. The cameras were cumbersome, the processing laborious, but these pioneers were undeterred, and they created a priceless record of a now-vanished world. Monumental buildings were favorite subjects, because they were static, could be pictured in constantly shifting light, and offered a ready-made composition for the photographer to interpret.
Entries in photography (4)
For our March/April urban design issue, FORM features the stunning work of photographer Jill Paider. As a special Web extra, we had the chance to talk to her about her career and philosophy. Look for more special FORMmag.net-only features in the coming days, weeks and months.
Masterful in front of an audience, this prodigious talent’s legacy will continue
to draw crowds
By Christopher James Alexander
-Curator of Architecture and Design
Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
Visitors to Julius Shulman Photography exhibitions tend to be a bit boisterous. They exclaim, sigh, and holler at their friends across the room. They point and excitedly lean into the framed images, inadvertently leaving smeared fingerprints and nose smudges on the protective glass. It’s not their fault. They can’t help themselves. Exploring Shulman’s captivating photos is an interactive experience.
For a curator like me, this lively gallery atmosphere is exhilarating. When the two Shulman exhibitions that Wim de Wit and I curated and organized with our Getty colleagues were on view, I enjoyed some of the most entertaining and enlightening anecdotes, while unabashedly eavesdropping on visitors in the gallery. People would linger in front of Shulman’s historic photographs and marvel at the inventive architecture, elegant fashions, sleek automobiles and bygone neighborhood vistas framed by his lens. Parents asked their young children how they thought it would feel to live in a transparent, steel and glass home or sleep perched atop the city in John Lautner’s futuristic Chemosphere. Groups of women reflected on blissful afternoons spent shopping at the Bullock’s Wilshire department store, in order to find the perfect dress for a special occasion. Couples happily reminisced about seeing Lawrence of Arabia at S. Charles Lee’s spectacular Academy Theater. Through his precise combination of intuitive timing, distinctive camera angles, and alluring, staged narratives, Shulman not only created some of the most famous photographs in architectural history; he developed compelling images that continue to viscerally connect with people on complex levels.