Sunday, December 13, 2009
Visual Acoustics opened this weekend at the Plaza Theatre in Atlanta. Visual Acoustics is a documentary about the life and work of the greatest architectural photographer Julius Shulman. I have been a huge fan of Shulman for years but never had the opportunity to meet him. It is a fantastic film of a life full of vision and clarity. He died on July 17th, 2009 at the age of 98.
As I watched and listen to Dustin Hoffman recount this great life I couldn't help but think that the hour and 23 minutes of film that I am watching is a meer fraction of the experiences that Shulman had. This is a man that traveled the globe single handedly documenting the modern world. In many cases his images were used to rebuild what had been altered or destroyed.
The film shows the humor and free spirit of the photographer as it documents his interactions with architects and book publishers. He often seems surprised that people are interested in the work, but is always aware of his place in history and very proud of it. Shulman lived long enough to watch retro become retro.
I can't encourage you enough to see the film, it is moving when Shulman receives his honorary degree in his 90's after dropping out of school as a kid. It is a true American film about a wonderful life that actually took the time to take a picture.