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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Boyle Heights as remembered by Julius Shulman

Photographer Julius Shulman, who died last week at age 96, will long be remembered for his photographs of mid-century Los Angeles homes and architecture that looked to the future. But Shulman grew up in Old World Boyle Heights during the 1920s after his family left behind the East Coast to open up a small store.

Ron Fields at the Jewish Journal recounts a 2007 visit he and Shulman took to the photographer's old haunts in Boyle Heights, including the Breed Street Shul and Hollenbeck Park. Shulman, in an earlier interview archived at the Smithsonian, recalls life on what is now Cesar Chavez Avenue:

“We had integration of ethnic groups,” he said in that interview. “I wrote about how on Brooklyn Avenue you would see gypsies with their multilayered skirts with large families with numerous children coming into the stores. There were also Japanese, Mexicans, Germans, Russians. Many ‘white’ Russians [refugees from the revolution of 1917] lived down in the East First Street area, near the L.A. River west of Boyle Avenue.”

Shulman took his first and apparently only photography class at Roosevelt High School.

Photo from the Jewish Journal website.

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