“Everything is about relationships. The relationship between light and subject, color and light and my relationship to the subject at hand. Blended all together in one thesis is a single response to a single moment in time”, ...so says Richard Leslie Schulman during his Angles of Repose exhibit in Los Angeles in 1999. Schulman, praised for his deftness and visual agility with the lens, keen intuition, and elegant composition, has photographed the leading artists, collectors and patrons of the arts in the United States, Europe and the Soviet Union.
Richard Leslie Schulman’s impressive career began in 1979 when he photographed the U.S. Tennis Open for Rolex Watches, Senator Ted Kennedy for his presidential campaign and a variety of other assignments. His portrait career took off when he photographed the abstract painter Willem de Kooning. From that point forward, Richard Schulman’s portfolio blossomed into a who’s who of the American “art scene”.
In 1984 the USSR government invited him to travel throughout the country to photograph their leading cultural figures. He continued that effort until the fall of 1992. Later, he was invited by the Peoples Republic of China to photograph their leading cultural figures.
In 1988 he broadened his focus by developing his own personal projects - architectural and environmental themes - which have turned into exhibits. His Generations of Artists show, created in 1999 and held at the Hebrew Home for the Aged in New York City, was a portfolio of artist portraits which he had accumulated for over 18 years. His subjects included several abstract sculptors including the late Louise Nevelson, Alexander Liberman, George Segal and Lee Krasner, an abstract expressionist who is often identified as the widow of Jackson Pollack. Although the content of their art was not religious, The New York Times pointed out Schulman’s dramatic treatment of light and dark that gave almost every portrait a religious aura.
“Viewers might be reminded of Rembrandt, which is fitting.” (20 Photographic Portraits Denote a Generation of Artists, William Zimmer, The New York Times, January 9, 2000)
During his 20-year career, Schulman has earned commissions to photograph many cultural and well-known luminaries such as Andy Warhol, Joan Miro, Jasper Johns, Joan Didion, Gore Vidal, Gordon Parks, Botero, Phillip Johnson, Frank Gehry, and including a recent 5-day portrait session of Ted Turner at his Montana ranch. His work has been featured in numerous books and magazines - German Vogue, Vanity Fair, Metropolis, Paris Match, Der Spiegel, New York Magazine, Time and Newsweek as well as many other worldwide publications.
Schulman’s unique approach, however, is not limited to photographing people. He has also earned several architectural commissions, including photographing The Getty Museum in Los Angeles. He has received assignments to create large landscape portraits, including that of the Napa Valley and a two-week assignment to photograph areas of Bali, Indonesia for Vogue and the Four Seasons Resort.
In the early 90s, Schulman was hailed by American Photo Magazine for his portrait of artist David Salle... “His new and creative approach to figures and portraits is a wonderful example of what our magazine is all about - to reach beyond our visual boundaries and define new worlds of photography.” (Letter to the Readers, 1994)
Richard Schulman was invited to lecture at Parsons The New School for Design. The class is entitled Photographing architecture and its design: the history of photographing architecture. He also lectures on the issues of portraiture and documentary photography how it relates to contemporary work at New York’s School of Visual Arts.
His most recent body of work is Portraits of The New Architecture (Assouline): portraits of the most compelling architects in modern architecture.