Critical analysis of Julius Shulman
Shulman has taken an everyday place that
wouldn’t be considered ‘photography
worthy’ and turned it into architectural
Shulman manages to make
photographs that haven’t had
techniques added to them,
look like they have. The
monochrome colour looks like
it was added in postproduction, however, when
Julius Shulman took this
picture, the technology would
only allow him to take it in
black and white.
The foreground of the shot features nothing but
the initial building. However, as you move further
to the background of the image, it gets busier with
cars. Overall, this image looks busy, while everyone
doesn’t notice the passiveness of the foreground.
As well as architectural photography, this image could also be categorised
in the documentary and fine art photography applications. Fine art cannot
be defined by anyone, due to the term meaning different things to
different people, therefore, this photograph could be described and
categorised as fine art.
The petrol station been
photographed looks near to
the camera, which would
suggest a wide lens, instead of
a telephoto lens, has been
Due to the on location setting
of the photograph, natural
light has been used as lighting
for this phonograph. Even
though flash guns and similar
can be used as ambient light in
this type of photography, Julius
Shulman has decided to stick
with natural for this particular
The vantage point of the image is ground level, which is contradictory
from the first viewing of the image. This is because on first viewing, the
image looks like a low vantage point, along with a high angle has been
used, due to the underside of the petrol station garage been in view.
However, the way Shulman has captured the photograph, in terms of
angle, makes it look this way.
Like most of Shulman’s photographs, this particular image is futuristic and before it’s time. The
architectural structure itself looks futuristic, but the composition of this is also the same. In the
days when Julius was a photographer, the fellow architectural photographers would take pictures
how they were viewed by the human eye. However, Shulman and a handful of others
communicated a different approach to the consumer through their photography. For example,
the angle in which it’s taken makes it look like it’s hovering, which in those days would have been
a revelation. Other photographers may have taken the picture straight on and at ground level,
but shulman takes it from a low vantage point instead.
Instead of been of a building, this image is of an architectural feature. When this picture was taken, it was
very unconventional in terms of architectural photography, which was due to photographs of the ceiling
been few and far between. Architectural images of the ceiling was limited to specially painted and
designed ceilings. Instead, Shulman developed, if not invented, the idea that an ordinary looking ceiling
can be photograph worthy and be considered a serious architectural photography piece.
A fast shutter speed would have been required to take a picture like this. However, like many other
technologies, shutter speed alteration wasn’t around when this picture was taken. This image would have
been difficult to capture, due to a tripod not been used because the object is at a vertical trajectory from
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