Lee Bey. Image courtesy of Lee Bey.
The Julius Shulman Institute (JSI) is pleased to announce Lee Bey as the 2021 recipient of the Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award. Bey is a photographer, writer, lecturer, and consultant who documents and interprets the built environment. His work investigates complex political, social, and racial forces that shape spaces and places.
Bey’s writing and photographic work have been consistent in creating public discussion on the importance of architecture as cultural expression and civic engagement. “Bey’s work embodies the mission of the Julius Shulman Institute, which is to engage architectural and social discourse through photographic images of the built environment — including architecture communities, industrial spaces, and beyond,” said JSI Executive Director Barbara Bestor.
Pride Cleaners. © Lee Bey
In his most recent book, Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side, Bey exalts the far-too-unrecognized architecture of Chicago’s South Side. Southern Exposure challenges the assumptive notion that beautiful works of architectural expression cannot exist in underserved communities. Visiting sixty sites, Bey includes works from notable Black architects such as Walter T. Bailey, John Moutoussamy, and Roger Margerym, along with relatively unknown work by other architects including Jeanne Gang, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Ero Saarinen.
“I feel that Bey’s work reveals what was always there but was largely ignored — or, frankly, omitted, by the mainstream architectural and academic community,” continued Bestor. “Bey’s documentation of these remarkable buildings celebrates the significant contributions by unsung architects and expands the narrative of who can create architecture and who it is for, while also actively deconstructs the trope of ‘ruin porn’ in describing the American city’s less-wealthy enclaves.”
Calder’s Flamingo. © Lee Bey
Every year, the Julius Shulman Institute presents its coveted annual Excellence in Photography Award to a photographer who honors Shulman’s legacy by challenging how we look at physical space. As the 2021 Awardee, Lee Bey will join a special group of past winners of the award, including Iwan Baan (2010), Pedro Guerrero (2012), Catherine Opie (2013), James Welling (2016), and many others.