Janna Ireland's New Book Explores the Work of Paul R. Williams through Photography

Janna Ireland was commissioned by the Julius Shulman Institute to photograph the work of Paul R. Williams, which culminated in the There is Only One Paul R. Williams exhibition at WUHO Gallery curated by Andrea Dietz. Now, Regarding Paul R. Williams: A Photographer’s View is a photographic exploration of the work of the first licensed Black architect west of the Mississippi River. Known as “Hollywood’s Architect”, Paul Revere Williams was a Los Angeles native who built a wildly successful career as an architect decades before the Civil Rights Movement. He designed municipal buildings and private homes as well as banks, churches, hospitals, and university halls. He designed public housing projects and mansions for celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball. In 1923, Williams became the first Black member of the American Institute of Architects. In 2017, nearly forty years after his death, he became the first Black recipient of the AIA Gold Medal.

In her book Regarding Paul R. Williams: A Photographer’s View, artist Janna Ireland explores the work and legacy of Williams through a series of intimate black-and-white photographs. Ireland gives the reader a vision of Williams that is both universal and highly personal. More than a book of architectural photographs, Regarding Paul R. Williams is the result of one artist’s encounter with another, connecting across different generations within the same city.

In addition to the photographs, Janna describes the project in her introduction ’The Architecture of an Icon’. Dean Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter also contributed an essay to this book, titled ‘Beyond Style’, and JSI Director Barbara Bestor contributed the ‘Afterword’.

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