Julius Shulman, product photographer

Paying the bills

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Above photo: Julius Shulman photo for an unknown client, 1957. Photo: Shulman / JP Getty Archive Trust

Legendary photographer Julius Shulman created imagery that is as iconic as the subject matter contained within his photos. But like most photographers – then as it is today – not all the work that come their way was glamorous, in fact much of it was done simply to pay the bills. Such is the case with these photos taken by Shulman for more practical purposes. Whether photographing for a furniture manufacturer’s catalog, a brochure for a hotel, or even just retailers needing photos of their inventory, a job is a job. To capture an image is to freeze history. So much can be told in a single photo that the tired chestnut of it being worth a thousand words cannot be debated. The great moments of the past 150 years invariably has the iconic accompanying photo. On an individual level we ourselves often have a memory more associated to a photo of it than the event itself. But between the great historical moments and private personal histories are the photos like these. They show us the products of our history. Whether it’s a car, a vacation destination, or a nice place to plant our butts, the photo is the story. I’m not sure if Shulman when he was taking these photos ever felt they would play even the smallest part in the grand scheme, but 60 or so years later they survive and are very much a part of the historical tapestry, as any image. Or, if not that, they are just a nice document of the design choices people had in 1950’s America – they were spoiled for choice!

Product photography by Julius Shulman. All Images Julius Shulman / Getty Archive. Click on Image for full view.

Sherman Bertram for House Beautiful 1950 shulman

Photo assistant taking a break during a shoot for Sherman Bertram for House Beautiful 1950.


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Maryann Roy
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So Fabulous !!

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