The Color Factory is a feast for your eyes. Last fall I photographed the spaces at the NYC location and it was interesting to watch the public interact with the props and exhibitions. The way the experience is set up is an Instagrammers dream but in a larger sense, I think we're all in need of playful, colourful surroundings. The spaces are created by a variety of artists and designers and provide immersive activities in a visually-appealing, graphic, Willy Wonka-esque wonderland. Beginning in San Francisco and expanding to NYC and Houston, it's a fun fantasy break if you're visiting a sometimes grey and monotonous city.
Last fall I spent some time in New York and on the drive back to Canada I stopped at Manitoga in Garrison, NY. Manitoga (1941-61) is a midcentury modern house designed and built by industrial designer Russel Wright and his business partner and wife Mary. Wright is most known for his mass produced ceramic dinnerware line, American Modern. The house was terraformed into a piece of land formerly used for logging and as a quarry. I love how the stone is incorporated into the home as the floor and stairs. The home studio is connected to the main house with a trellis covered in leaves. The site and relationship to the landscape is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water in Pennsylvania.
I spent the month of December in Egypt with friend and colleague Dina Sarhane of DS Studio. We traveled to Cairo to study their community recreational spaces located throughout the city, called Nadys. While in Cairo we met with the dean and head of the architecture department at The American University in Cairo. During our meeting we had a tour of the campus and were invited to visit the rare book collection to see original drawings of Cairo from the late 1800s and early 1900s. We then visited the architecture library and were shown original drawings by noted Egyptian modernist architects, Hassan Fathy and Ramses Wissa Wassef. Such a treat to see the two different drawing sets and styles. Stay tuned for more posts on our Egyptian adventure..
Photographing Philip Johnson's Glass House (1947-49) in Connecticut has been on my shoot list for a long time and I finally had the opportunity to cross it off while on a road trip from Boston to New York. It was perfect weather to experience the site, minimal house and out buildings. One of my favourite parts of photographing a mid-century modern house is imagining all the interesting conversations and wild parties. The modernists knew how to entertain!
I had a couple extra days while I was in San Francisco so I drove up the coast to Sea Ranch. I've wanted to check it out for awhile but timing never seemed to work out. I arrived to a misty humid morning and thought the fog added a beautiful mystical quality to the waterfront site. The sea-weathered modern architecture took on the appearance of a herd of elephants looking over the ocean. As the sun slowly came out I made my way around the infamous grounds designed by architects Al Boeke, Joseph Esherick, Donlyn Lyndon, Charles Moore, Richard Whitaker, landscape architect Lawrence Halprin and graphic designer Barbara Stauffacher Solomon.
Here's just a small taste of the photo set I took at Neutra VDL Studio and Residence in Los Angeles. I love learning the history of these mid-century modern houses. Not long after photographing this space I attended a talk by Richard Neutra's son who detailed the work of his father and discussed living in the house as a kid and how it was always buzzing with activity. Check out more modern homes in my modern love gallery.
Last week I decided to spontaneously surprise my best friend at her new house in a small town east of Kingston, Ontario. I was one of the many Air Miles members to redeem points before they expired at the end of the year, only to find out they canceled the expiration plan shortly after I used them. I don't regret it because it was a great surprise and a desperately needed visit after not seeing each other for over a year. Although she and her husband are working their way through renovations, I wanted to photograph the spaces that were clean and finished since it's such a great 100+ year old house. I'm excited to see how the rest of the renovations go over the next year and will be taking more photos during upcoming visits.
On view at Vancouver Special until the end of July is my documentary photography series of Salton Sea in California. Salton Sea, explores the remnants of a now defunct resort towns in the Imperial Valley near Palm Springs. Following the accidental creation of an inland sea from an agricultural dam release in 1905, the Salton Sea became a tourist destination in the 1950's and 60's and was frequented by Hollywood celebrities such as Desi Arnaz and Frank Sinatra. However, the heyday of mid-century modern homes and yacht clubs was fleeting. Due to its position as the lowest elevation in the region, the water became inundated with toxic agricultural runoff and high levels of salinity, which in turn caused thousands of birds and fish to die. As quickly as the resort materialized, it vanished, leaving behind ghost towns of abandoned structures and signage.
24 x 36” unframed: $2450.00 (edition of 12)
16 x 20” unframed: $165.00 (edition of 20)
I finally made it to Palm Springs, or as I like to call it Modernism Mecca. I was not disappointed and can't wait to go back. I rented a car so I was able to explore a few other places that were on my list. I went to the Integratron in Joshua Tree and had a sound bath which was pretty rad. South of Palm Springs is Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain, two anomalies worth checking out for anyone interested in seeing different desert architecture interventions. At the end of my trip I spent a couple days in San Diego and of course had to check out the thoughtful design of Louis Kahn's Salk Institute.
Recently I was in Toronto for a small shoot for an architect
friend who just finished a restaurant project. But before
that I took a little drive to where I grew up and visited
some of the places I liked seeing as a kid.