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  • Julius Shulman: Modern Photographer

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    Julius Shulman Mirman Residence in Arcadia

    You've seen the style a thousand times...and chances are modern photographer Julius Shulman (1910-2009) had something to do with that.

    Following up on Cori's post Design in Style: Mid-Century Modern Roundup from yesterday, Mid-century Modernism is one of the most popular and recognizable design styles today (and one that we love!). One of the most common subsets of the style is California Modern, a style of residential architecture characterized by glass walls, oversized eaves and severe geometries, most commonly found in horizontal cities like Palm Springs and Los Angeles. These structures represent the quintessential post-war American Dream and for Mid-century Modern fans, the designers and architects of these homes are household names: Eames, Schindler, Neutra, Lautner, even Lloyd Wright.

    John Lautner Chemosphere Shulman photograph

    Shulman has photographed the most iconic Mid-century residences of the last seventy years, and his uncanny ability to give soul to these stark spaces brings up an interesting question: does a great subject make a great photograph, or vice versa?

    His images have immortalized the work of John Lautner (pictured above) and Richard Neutra (pictured below)...

    Neutra Chuey House by Julius Shulman

    ...bringing to light these striking edifices, not to mention the furniture within them. The impact of Mid-century thinking influences home decor design to this day. 

    mid century modern furniture designs

    Zuo Liftoff Black Dining Table, Holtkoetter Satin White and Satin Nickel Tripod Floor Lamp

    Not all of Shulman's photos included human subjects, but when they did, his models exuded the composed cool that came to define the Mid-century aesthetic.

    Shulman photograph of Pierre Koenig

    spencer house photo by julius shulman

    The California Modern lifestyle was, at least on the surface, one of extreme leisure, with cocktails and swimming pools featuring prominently. But it was also one that indicated a tectonic shift in perception, from Modernism as an abstruse European design philosophy to a populist aesthetic that could be mass produced and consumable. To buy modern floor lamps and furniture was suddenly as easy as picking up groceries. And with Mid-century Modern designs now available more than ever today, we are all the beneficiaries.

    We may never credit a single mid-century furniture or building design to Julius Shulman, but we might all want to thank him for turning the camera - and in the process, many of us - on to this revolutionary look.   

    Images: W5RAN, Peterson Live, Midcenturia, Pleasure PhotoTrndWntd

  • Homeboy Industries: Providing Second Chances

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    Homegirl Cafe

    All last week we provided you with our team's recaps and experiences at the Dwell on Design event. We wrapped it all up yesterday with Annie's post about the Sander Architect's Green House. Today, I'd like to start back at the beginning and talk about what I discovered on my way to the event...

    I had to pick up a friend at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and then head over to the convention center not too far away for the Dwell on Design event. Since L.A. traffic is always unpredictable, I arrived about thirty minutes early and was wondering where I would wait. I drove maybe 100 yards past Union Station and found a large, modern looking structure with the word "bakery" on it. Perfect.

    Mayer of Los Angeles

    Not only did I have the best powder-sugar almond crousant, but I made an incredible discovery. Homeboy Industries is a non-profit organization, founded by a Jesuit priest Father Greg Boyle, which helps former gang members and recently incarcerated youth rebuild their future and their life. It is the largest gang intervention program in the country.

    It provides programs designed to meet multiple needs, such as counseling, tattoo removal and education. There are also four businesses that serve as job-training sites, such as the bakery where I stopped in that morning. The first thing I noticed when I walked in, besides the fact that it was packed, was the energy level... It was so positive and it was everywhere.

    Father Greg Boyle

    Through various charities and profits earned from the bakery and cafe (which just sold their first products to the Ralphs grocer chain), Father Greg Boyle provide and his organization are able to provide second chance opportunities, most importantly hope for change.

    For more information you can visit their website

    Images: DB, KCET, Homeboy Industries

July, 2012