03 January 2010

Visual Acoustics (2009)

Last year I saw "The Cool School," a documentary about the LA modern art scene. A nice complementary piece could have been Visual Acoustics, subtitled "The Modernisms of Julius Shulman." Shulman's an architectural photographer and his work has been highly influential and you've probably seen his photos even if you didn't recognize his name, which I didn't. Many of the architects he worked with I was familiar with though: Netra, Koenig, Lautner, Eames, Wright, Gehry.

While I'm hardly an architectural scholar, I do love buildings and this movie brings many of them to life wonderfully. Actually, the very first domain name I purchased was hyperwest.net, in semi-homage to this book, "Hyperwest: American Residential Architecture on the Edge." After watching Visual Acoustics, I realize how much Shulman's work must have influenced Hyperwest. And if you read The Fountainhead (one of my favorite books) there's a lot of talk about the aesthetics of buildings because the main character's philosophy on architecture was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.

It's interesting that a film captures the work of a photographer who captures the beauty of buildings, but whatever it takes to get the word out right? Seriously, if you like architecture, photography, or just art at all, this is a must see. Below is an excerpt from the official film website:
"Populating his photos with human models and striking landscapes, Shulman combined the organic with the synthetic, melding nature with revolutionary urban design. The resulting images helped to shape the careers of some of the greatest architects of the 20th Century, with Shulman documenting the work of Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, Pierre Koenig, John Lautner and many others.

Taking its aesthetic cues from Shulman’s own sensual and nuanced photography, the film’s narrative is built from a blend of Shulman’s own images as well as in depth interviews with architect Frank Gehry, designer Tom Ford, artist Ed Ruscha, actress Kelly Lynch and writer Mitch Glazer, publisher Benedikt Taschen, Academy Award -- nominated cinematographer Dante Spinotti and a host of others."