Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Craftsman Challenge

Beautiful, unassuming Craftsman architecture: it's part of what makes South Pasadena and several other sections of the San Gabriel Valley so special. Here we are, smack dab in Arts and Crafts Central. Street after street, lined with perfect examples of the period -- homes nestled amid tree branches, bright river rock tucked into dark earth, porches relaxing into shadow, pitched rooftops bathed with light. Each one a study of sun and shade, with subtle details disappearing into foliage.

And every one almost impossible to capture with a camera! Those architects 100 years ago succeeded in their goal of designing homes that blend seamlessly into the landscape. It's like trying to photograph someone in a jungle who is splattered with mud and wearing camouflage pants.

So, after months of frustrated attempts, I pass the challenge on to my fellow San Gabriel Valley City Daily photobloggers ... show me your local Craftsmans! (I'm counting on you Ben, Petrea and Keith!)

UPDATED January 16, 2009: Click here for links to bloggers who have accepted the challenge!

UPDATED January 25, 2009: Bringing up my amended request from the comments below: I may have mentioned my San Gabriel Valley cohorts but I include ALL bloggers in this challenge. Show me what you got!

30 comments:

Tanya said...

I love those stone columns on the porch. New homes just don't have that character and specialness.

Eki Akhwan said...

I like those stone columns and the design of the roof ... Very artsy and cute.

Your January 7 photo is also great, Laurie. I like the moment you captured in it a lot.

Judy Williams said...

I had the weirdest sense of deja-vu. Like I had seen that image before. Those stone columns just scream craftsman and it is one of my favorite architectural characteristics of that period. As always, I love the rich tonal range.

Walker said...

We drove through Mission Hills in San Diego yesterday and saw many similar, lovely.

Petrea said...

Now you've done it. I've been putting this one off but I'm competitive, so now I have to do it. Do you see, folks? Laurie is good and still this front porch hides from her. Like she says, those guys knew what they were doing.

Beautiful shot, Laurie. You got the sleeping porch and the slope, plus I love those rocks. You also picked up the essence of a South Pas residential neighborhood. How sweet is that?

ben wideman said...

Dang it Laurie, this is almost impossible to do! I'll try and see what I can come up with. You are bound to have a few trees, a hedge, a fence, or something else blocking you from your perfect shot. Often I find that the ideal shot is from across the street, but that sometimes comes with cars in the frame.

But maybe all these photo additions are as Petrea puts it - picking up the essence of the neighborhood.

Thanks for the challenge!

Cafe Observer said...

Notice, u didn't invite this K9 into the competition. Wise woman. I don't have de time for daily shutterblogging anyway. Lucky y''all.

LA, knows who to challenge!

Irina Netchaev said...

A challenge! Can't wait to see what Petrea and Ben come up with. Would love to feature some of the photos on my site as well.

Have fun shutterbugs!

dbdubya said...

Only in a few rare communities in Southern California will you find a classic craftsman, shadowed by camphor trees, with a palm tree peeking over the neighbor's roof, and a Southern California Edison power pole in the distance.

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

The antenna reminds me of a Balinese shadow puppet.

Mister Earl said...

Does the Gamble House count? The Blacker? I think I know the house in your photo, Laurie. Maybe I'll take a "shot" at it.

There's a lot going on in your photo. Looks like a rock yard sale.

altadenahiker said...

Well, I'd personally like to see this porch photo smack down. (I will be sitting on sidelines, eating peanuts.)

Keith said...

This will be fun and definitely a challenge. Everytime I point my camera at a Craftsman, I swear I hear the house laughing at me. Time to do a little scouting...

Petrea said...

Smackdown! I tried today but haven't uploaded. We shall see.

USelaine said...

I love these! There are stupendous ones down in Berkeley and Sacramento too.

Laurie said...

I might have mentioned Petrea, Ben and Keith by namd but the challenge is open to all bloggers who want to step up for the smackdown! (Craftsman Smackdown is one of the silliest terms I've heard in a while. It sounds like a Barbershop Quartet who does Sex Pistols covers...)

This ought to be fun!

Cafe Observer said...

What's does the winner get?
Where's the big payoff?
If the winner gets gourmet dog food for a month then I might be persuaded to put my paw in this human competition.
You know with de economy & everything.

Who is the judge of this? If it's simply a homo sapien, unless it's the boxer lover, then I'm cooked.

Is this serious or just 4 fun? If it's just 4 fun - have fun!

I'll only be in if this is serious!

San Diego Farmgirl said...

FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

I, for one, would like to see a Barbershop Quartet that does Sex Pistols covers. I imagine it would be like that alternative cover to "Boyz in the Hood".

Laurie said...

Hello again everyone,

Well, I'm looking forward to seeing the results of this challenge!

Petrea, you are on it, woman. I can't wait to see what you come up with.

Cafe Observer, prize? Um... how about the satisfaction of photographing something that is impossible to photograph? No? (I'll get back to you...)

Til tomorrow...

Laurie said...

Oops... where are my manners? Welcome Irina!

Judy Williams said...

There are craftsman homes in Georgetown, not far from here. Maybe I'll sneak in one or two for fun. :~)

Petrea said...

I tried one yesterday. Thought I had it. It looked perfect on the little screen, but when I uploaded it, NO.

Laurie said...

Welcome to my world of consternation, Petrea... I hear ya.

Judy -- yeah! Join in!

Mister Earl said...

LA and P - What do you see as the difficulty in photographing craftsman's?

Petrea said...

Shadows. Unless you've got some heavy duty lighting equipment, these buildings foil the sun. Many are painted dark colors, too, making it even tougher.

It's not that they can't be photographed, it's just that the photos don't do them justice. What we see with the naked eye looks so lovely, but the photo isn't all that great.

We're not giving up, though.

Jilly said...

Love individuality. So nice when people personalise their house. Shows pride, shows an artistic temperament. Hopefully there is a handy husband with the bricks...

RoyGBiv said...

Just discovered your blog. I am a craftsman by trade and live in a craftsman. Too much, darlings! I will be watching with interest!

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Benjamin Madison said...

Please view my entry in the Craftsman Smackdown:

http://victoriadailyphoto.blogspot.com/2009/02/craftsman-challenge.html

Anonymous said...

I am wondering where the above house is located. It is the most perfect Craftsman cottage I've ever seen!