Eric Bricker's documentary celebration of America's most renowned architectural photographer is effusive in its praise, tame in its public-television-style execution. Shulman, who died last year, at age 98, was filmed several years earlier, a sunny-tempered, extroverted man.
Followed by a video camera, he takes pleasure in visiting with the ritzy residents in the homes he'd made famous through his impeccably framed photographs. When high modernism came to California design — i.e., domiciles by the likes of Albert Frey and John Lautner — Shulman was commissioned to show the world how stunningly sleek these houses were.
His photographs appeared in influential magazines and then, starting in 1990, were sold as artistic works in posh galleries. The older he got, the more popular he got, and this film shows a man happy in old age, and fulfilled in his work. "It's a good business," he declares. "Let the architects do all the heavy work — we come in and take pictures."