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April 12, 2010

I met photographer Richard Schulman and his wife, Barbara, a few years back and instantly developed a friendship with them. Their love of design and architecture is infectious—they eat, sleep, and breath design. And in Richard's case, he shoots it. He photographs both buildings and the people who create them with equal precision and he's shot pretty much every significant artist and architect of the last 50 years. He sat down for an exclusive interview with Dwell about working with legends like Philip Johnson and Andy Warhol, and he curated and provided commentary for a collection of his work, twenty-two images in all. Stay tuned for that slideshow, which we'll share later this week.

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  Photographer Richard Schulman.

    Photographer Richard Schulman.

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  Warhol. This was my original assignment. Then I shot Basquiat. Basquiat and Warhol together was the icing on the cake. Andy shared one of the great business lessons with me and I have never forgotten the symbolism in his words.    Photo by Richard Schulman.

    Warhol. This was my original assignment. Then I shot Basquiat. Basquiat and Warhol together was the icing on the cake. Andy shared one of the great business lessons with me and I have never forgotten the symbolism in his words.  

    Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  SANAA, the 2010 Recipients of the Pritzker prize. The duo Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima recently designed the New Museum in New York.  Photo by Richard Schulman.

    SANAA, the 2010 Recipients of the Pritzker prize. The duo Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima recently designed the New Museum in New York.

    Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  Philip Johnson in his Glass House. Philip was the first recipient of the Pritzker Prize award. I think it is the only photograph in which you see Philip in the house and the house in its entirety.  Photo by Richard Schulman.

    Philip Johnson in his Glass House. Philip was the first recipient of the Pritzker Prize award. I think it is the only photograph in which you see Philip in the house and the house in its entirety.

    Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  The Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles designed by Pritzker Prize-winner Frank Gehry—A true masterpiece, originally designed before [the Guggenheim in] Bilbao.

I have photographed Frank Gehry a few times. The true gentleman who becomes more like a beautiful wine through the ages.  Photo by Richard Schulman.
    The Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles designed by Pritzker Prize-winner Frank Gehry—A true masterpiece, originally designed before [the Guggenheim in] Bilbao. I have photographed Frank Gehry a few times. The true gentleman who becomes more like a beautiful wine through the ages. Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  Oscar Niemeyer has only one freestanding building in the United States, and it's this home in Los Angeles. It's now owned by the Boyds. This home sits between Spanish-style mansions in Brentwood, California.  Photo by Richard Schulman.
    Oscar Niemeyer has only one freestanding building in the United States, and it's this home in Los Angeles. It's now owned by the Boyds. This home sits between Spanish-style mansions in Brentwood, California. Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  Luc Tuymans. When I photographed him he was up-and-coming. Today he is a most sought-after painter—museums galore want to collect him.  Photo by Richard Schulman.
    Luc Tuymans. When I photographed him he was up-and-coming. Today he is a most sought-after painter—museums galore want to collect him. Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  This Niemeyer home in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was designed for Niemeyer as his own residence; it's one of the great Modernist homes of South America.  Photo by Richard Schulman.
    This Niemeyer home in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was designed for Niemeyer as his own residence; it's one of the great Modernist homes of South America. Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  Richard Meier, another Pritzker prize winner, at his home in East Hampton.    Photo by Richard Schulman.

    Richard Meier, another Pritzker prize winner, at his home in East Hampton.  

    Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  Jean Nouvel, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect who defines creative masterpieces, like his new design for the Louvre in Abu Dhabi.  Photo by Richard Schulman.
    Jean Nouvel, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect who defines creative masterpieces, like his new design for the Louvre in Abu Dhabi. Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  Louise Bourgeois: Wow. Certainly outlived them all! The Grand Dame of the Art World. She really wanted me to shoot her in this Caftan, one of her personal favorites. She was a tough love, smart and intuitive.  Photo by Richard Schulman.
    Louise Bourgeois: Wow. Certainly outlived them all! The Grand Dame of the Art World. She really wanted me to shoot her in this Caftan, one of her personal favorites. She was a tough love, smart and intuitive. Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  The Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.

This was for a book, a wonderful experience with the design of automobiles and a modern Frank Lloyd Wright-like design by Ben van Berkel of UN Studio. One of those assignments in which I could develop both a taste for the architect’s appreciation of automobiles, and the museum itself.  Photo by Richard Schulman.
    The Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. This was for a book, a wonderful experience with the design of automobiles and a modern Frank Lloyd Wright-like design by Ben van Berkel of UN Studio. One of those assignments in which I could develop both a taste for the architect’s appreciation of automobiles, and the museum itself. Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  Oscar [Niemeyer], another Pritzker Prize winner, is 103 years old today. He is the last of the Modernist geniuses. Like most of the architects I have shared time with, he is a prince to be around.  Photo by Richard Schulman.
    Oscar [Niemeyer], another Pritzker Prize winner, is 103 years old today. He is the last of the Modernist geniuses. Like most of the architects I have shared time with, he is a prince to be around. Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  Paulo Mendes da Rocha, a great character and also a Pritzker Prize winner, designed this entrance to the subway in Sal Paulo, Brazil. I am not sure if it is the photographer or Mendes that created this dramatic affect.  Photo by Richard Schulman.
    Paulo Mendes da Rocha, a great character and also a Pritzker Prize winner, designed this entrance to the subway in Sal Paulo, Brazil. I am not sure if it is the photographer or Mendes that created this dramatic affect. Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  Deborah Berke designed this beautiful example of a modernist home in the 21st century.  Photo by Richard Schulman.
    Deborah Berke designed this beautiful example of a modernist home in the 21st century. Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  SCHUL_1  Photo by Richard Schulman.

    SCHUL_1

    Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  Philip Johnson.  Photo by Richard Schulman.

    Philip Johnson.

    Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  A Rick Joy-designed home in the desert of Arizona.  Photo by Richard Schulman.
    A Rick Joy-designed home in the desert of Arizona. Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  Santiago Calatrava’s Milwaukee Museum. It is such a rewarding experience to watch the Museum fly. You know, it has wings, and people wait for hours to appreciate this engineering moment.  Photo by Richard Schulman.
    Santiago Calatrava’s Milwaukee Museum. It is such a rewarding experience to watch the Museum fly. You know, it has wings, and people wait for hours to appreciate this engineering moment. Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  Isamu Noguchi. This 1982 photograph was my last black-and-white photograph, or it is the last that I remember, anyway. We were like water and oil in his studio, but when it came time for him to choose from thousands of images for a mini Pace Gallery retrospective, he chose this image. One of my proudest moments.  Photo by Richard Schulman.
    Isamu Noguchi. This 1982 photograph was my last black-and-white photograph, or it is the last that I remember, anyway. We were like water and oil in his studio, but when it came time for him to choose from thousands of images for a mini Pace Gallery retrospective, he chose this image. One of my proudest moments. Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  [Another shot of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, shot in 1984.]  Photo by Richard Schulman.
    [Another shot of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, shot in 1984.] Photo by Richard Schulman.
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  Fernando Botero. I have had the privilege of photographing Botero in his homes or studios in France 1984, New York 1990, and Italy 1997, all for assignments. The pictures have been published worldwide since 1984.  Photo by Richard Schulman.
    Fernando Botero. I have had the privilege of photographing Botero in his homes or studios in France 1984, New York 1990, and Italy 1997, all for assignments. The pictures have been published worldwide since 1984. Photo by Richard Schulman.
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Photographer Richard Schulman.

Photographer Richard Schulman.

What's easier, shooting buildings or architects? Which is more fun?
I am fortunate to be commissioned to shoot both portraits and architecture. They are both fun. I love meeting the personalities and capturing their spaces, and I love illuminating architecture for all to see.
Of your portrait subjects, who surprised you the most?
Probably Philip Johnson. He knew everything about my career and was generous with his time and was supportive of my career.

Warhol. This was my original assignment. Then I shot Basquiat. Basquiat and Warhol together was the icing on the cake. Andy shared one of the great business lessons with me and I have never forgotten the symbolism in his words.
 

Warhol. This was my original assignment. Then I shot Basquiat. Basquiat and Warhol together was the icing on the cake. Andy shared one of the great business lessons with me and I have never forgotten the symbolism in his words.  

Photo by Richard Schulman.

Philip Johnson in his Glass House. Philip was the first recipient of the Pritzker Prize award. I think it is the only photograph in which you see Philip in the house and the house in its entirety.

Philip Johnson in his Glass House. Philip was the first recipient of the Pritzker Prize award. I think it is the only photograph in which you see Philip in the house and the house in its entirety.

Photo by Richard Schulman.
What was it like shooting Andy Warhol?

Significant. It was an amazing moment because Andy introduced me to Jean Michel Basquiat during the shoot. During the session I made a portrait of the two men together. Historically, it's now the only "posed portrait" of the two in the world.
You've shot what seems like every major artist and architect of the last fifty years. Are there differences between the artists and the architects?
The artist imagines an idea. An architect imagines the world.
Who do you wish you could photograph, but never had the opportunity?
Dead or alive? A portrait of Miles Davis, President Obama, Bill Clinton, Robert Oppenheimer, Einstein, and Sophia Loren when she was twenty years old.
You're also a professor at Parsons. What's the greatest piece of advice you could give to those looking to become photographers?
Go with your heart, define your passion, and organize a business plan.
What was your most unusual shoot?
Photographing "Samantha" a 23-foot-long reticulated python, feeding on a 40-pound pig, "Babe."
Have you become friends with any of your subjects?
I have friends from my sessions from many countries—architects, designers, artists, and collectors.
How is it that you began shooting the Pritzker Prize winners?
I have photographed 27 of the 32 winners. I think for one photographer it's the most substantial archive of the Pritzker Prize winners in one portfolio. It started with Philip Johnson and Richard Meier introducing me to other unique architects. My books have also allowed me access to some of the most interesting voices in architecture.
SANAA, the 2010 Recipients of the Pritzker prize. The duo Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima recently designed the New Museum in New York.

SANAA, the 2010 Recipients of the Pritzker prize. The duo Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima recently designed the New Museum in New York.

Photo by Richard Schulman.

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