Thursday 31 Jul

Power Pyramid - The God Drums

Power Pyramid doesn’t have much patience for nonsense. That appears to be the takeaway from the Oklahoma City quintet’s last 10 months, which brought The God Drums in September, the Insomnia EP in January and its latest, self-titled effort in July.

07/29/2014 | Comments 0

TJ Mayes - "When Love Comes Down"

’50s era rock ’n’ roll had been long overdue for a rebirth. Thankfully, the stockpile of capable luminaries has not been in short supply over the past few years. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Boare - "playdatshit"

The world is in the midst of an electronic music renaissance, and you find most of this boon of producers laying claim to the club-friendly, bass-dropping variety, holing up in the the free-flowing world of hip-hop beatmaking or pitching their tent on the out-there, boundary-pushing EDM camp.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broncho - "Class Historian"

Broncho has never been hurting in the hook department. The success of the trio’s 2011 debut, Can’t Get Past the Lips, was predicated mostly on its ability to marry melodies with kinetic guitar riffs and anarchic energy. Yet we’ve heard nothing to the degree of pure pop catchiness on display in “Class Historian,” the new single from Broncho’s upcoming sophomore album, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Documentary profiles renowned...

Documentary profiles renowned architectural photographer

Phil Bacharach April 30th, 2009

A uniquely symbiotic partnership exists between architecture and photography. Even the most breathtaking building might have only a limited number of visitors. It's through the photographic imag...


A uniquely symbiotic partnership exists between architecture and photography. Even the most breathtaking building might have only a limited number of visitors. It's through the photographic image, however, that most structures gain the admirers they are due.

As the documentary "Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman" makes clear, few architectural photographers have done more to advance both media than Shulman. The film shows Thursday through Sunday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

The screening is part of "Julius Shulman: Oklahoma Modernism Rediscovered," an exhibition spotlighting his photography of Oklahoma's most acclaimed architectures. Thursday's film showing includes an appearance by director Eric Bricker and, health permitting, the 98-year-old Shulman.

The no-frills approach of "Visual Acoustics" reflects the sleek functionality of the modernist buildings immortalized by Shulman. Born to immigrant parents, he was 10 when his family moved to Los Angeles. Shulman's daughter, Judy McKee, likens her father and L.A. as siblings. "They really did grow up together," she said, recalling how her dad explored the city through his camera lens.

Throughout the 1950s and '60s, Shulman's photography proved instrumental in helping mythologize the Southern California lifestyle. From the Hollywood Hills to the Palm Springs desert, he paid tribute to the long geometric lines, glass walls and arid spaces that distinguished the period's modernist architecture.

Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, "Visual Acoustics" takes viewers through the origins of Shulman's art. In 1936, he used a vest-pocket camera to snap pictures of a house designed by Richard Neutra, one of the founders of SoCal modernism. Neutra liked the young man's style, and so launched a career that would lead Shulman to photograph buildings by some of the world's greatest architects. His most celebrated work came in 1960 with "Case Study House #22." In it, two women sit in a glass room perched high atop a hill overlooking the lights of Los Angeles. It remains one of the most iconic images of mid-century life in L.A.

"Visual Acoustics" incorporates interviews with architectural experts and other academia types, but the film is more adoring than edifying. The doc benefits from lengthy interview segments with Shulman, an affable and spry nonagenarian, but the picture doesn't scratch much past the surface. Documentarian Bricker pays only cursory attention to what inspired Shulman about modernism, and the movie ignores the photographer's personal life. There are some nifty animation sequences courtesy the graphic-design firm Trollbäck + Company, but too much cutesiness hobbles an all-too-brief sequence on the history of modernism. The film's most effective moments are those in which Bricker draws on anecdotes from Shulman and the children of deceased colleagues.

Wisely, "Visual Acoustics" lets Shulman's photography speak for itself. The bold, largely black-and-white images hold a stark beauty. Many of the buildings he shot no longer exist. The world is indebted to his work in preserving great architecture; "Visual Acoustics" deserves similar praise for extolling Shulman's considerable contributions. "Phil Bacharach

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