The Style of the house should be as far as possible determined by four conditions: First, Climate; Second, Environment; Third, Kinds of materials available; Fourth, Habits and tastes—i.e., the life of the owner.
I ventured out the other day to shoot pictures of South Pasadena's beloved bungalows when it started to rain. Here, a lonely lawn chair gets another rinse. (I'll be those little plants are happy, though...)
For more on Craftsman architecture -- and a whole lot of pictures of houses -- check out my latest at Patch. It should post sometime before lunchtime today.
It's been a while since I've taken the Craftsman Challenge but this cozy, green wonder seemed to be begging for a portrait. South Pasadena has hundreds of Arts and Crafts houses and each one is an inspiration -- not to mention a tricky subject to photograph. (Those shadowy porches! Those blindingly reflective slanting rooftops!)
This has to be my favorite front yard in South Pasadena. I wonder... are contemporary Druids living here? I can think of no better image to revisit my beloved Craftsman Challenge. Here's a review to bring new readers up to speed:
The idea began with my complaint about how it's almost impossible to use a camera to capture the true beauty of a Craftsman home. My blogging pals stepped up to the plate to prove me wrong...
And a little bit like the architecture itself, my challenge endures! I'm happy to say, yet another contender steps into the ring for a chance at the title of Craftsman Smackdown queen. This is the perfect opportunity for me to introduce a new Los Angeles-area blog, A Photographic Journey, by GOSP reader (and photographer-extraordinaire) The Chieftess. Take a look at her masterful shots of Craftsman homes, and be sure to check out her other photographs. I think you will enjoy the thoughtful, elegant and just plain beautiful images from around Southern California. Welcome to Blogland, Chieftess!
It all started with my lament that it's nearly impossible to get a picture of a Craftsman home that truly reflects the beauty and wonder of the architectural style. Well, never let it be said that my blogging pals pass up a good challenge...
Petrea stepped up here and followed up here, Ben at The Sky is Big in Pasadena added his two cents here, Mister Earl upped the stakes here and here and with a big laugh-out-loud here, Sarah Jane over at Hatching a Patch jumped in with this , GOSP reader Barbra came along with this, and Keith at Gem City Images tried to grab the title of Craftsman Smackdown King with this great shot only to be shaken when Elaine way up north in Willits snuck up with this great shot.
I'm thrilled that my call for photographs of Craftsman homes has spread out of the San Gabriel Valley, through Northern California and now to Canada. We can already see the differences in the way the Craftsman master ethic translated to different regions. I love the stonework in Benjamin's shot. It's very different than the river rock that is so prevalent here.
So it's game on, fellow bloggers. Who else wants to dare try to capture these elusive beauties with the snap of a shudder? I'll say it again: show me your Craftsmans!
Finally, after months of futile snapping, here is an image that begins to hope to dare to possibly approximate what a Craftsman house actually looks like in person. (Though still not exactly. I am beginning to feel like one of those obsessed types who try to snag a shot of the Loch Ness monster. Or ghosts in The Rialto.)
Isn't it gorgeous? I don't think I'll ever stop marveling at these historical gems. South Pasadena simply glitters with them.
There are some things that just refuse to be pinned down -- like the meaning of life. And Craftsman houses.
I recently lamented my inability to adequately photograph the splendor of South Pasadena's many Craftsman homes. Shooting the moon without a zoom or a tripod is easier. Trying to effectively explain what a newborn baby's head smells like is easier. In real life, this house is a veritable wonder of texture and light, a majestic woodsy palace fit for a Goblin King. Here, in picture form, it's just a collection of pretty windows lost in the dappled shade. Some blame the recessed porches for creating too much shadow. Others curse the light bounced from the pitched roof. I just think all of these structures are equipped with some kind of magical early 20th Century cloaking device that won't allow reproduction in any form.
But kudos to my fellow San Gabriel Valley bloggers for stepping up to the challenge! Petrea presents a world-class effort here and follows up here, Ben gives us a nifty shot here, Mister Earl is on a roll here and here and with a most lighthearted touch here, Sarah Jane over at Hatching a Patch takes the initiative with this great entry , GOSP reader Barbra jumped right in with these lovely shots on her blog, and Keith may have earned the title Craftsman Smackdown King with this great shot although Elaine way up north in Willits throws it down pretty hard with this fantastic image. Nice job, gang. But we all still know that Craftsman homes belong to a rare breed of California superstars: they really do look better in person.
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!
In December of 2007, after many years on the west side of Los Angeles (and at least a third of those years spent stuck in traffic on Pico Boulevard) my family settled into a happy little house in South Pasadena. This daily blog covered over 4 year as I put down roots in my new home town.
My New Blog Launching Sometime in 2013
Check out my multimedia column archive: Views from the Front Porch
Published at Patch.
September, 2013: After a year off, I'm gearing up for the launch of my new blog. Stay tuned for more information...
Thank you Charlie's Coffee House for hosting my photo exhibit, South Pas: Observed. From October 2011 through January 2012 my pictures graced the walls of the best place in town to get a cup of coffee!
Read the nifty story on photo bloggers Petrea Burchard, Ben Wideman, Kat Likkel and little old me featured in the September, 2011 issue of Pasadena Magazine.
For over 4 years, I presented a picture a day from South Pasadena, California -- an incorporated city within the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. All photos up to November, 2008 were taken with a Fujifilm Finepix E900 camera. I added a Fujifilm Finepix S2000HD megazoom in December 2008, a Nikon D3100 in 2010 and a Lumix DMC-DS8 in 2011. I shot with them all. In August 2010 I joined the iPhone camera craze and sometimes included pictures captured by my phone. I regularly cropped images and used basic editing software to adjust the brightness, intensify the contrast, and increase color saturation. Other than that, all images came straight from the camera with minimal alteration. (If I couldn't have done it in a darkroom, I wouldn't do it with a computer.)
The bigger picture:
Consider it a love letter to the place I call home.
You can click on any picture to see a larger version.
All photos and prose on this blog copyright Laurie Allee. Reproduction without written permission is prohibited. (Plus, it's really uncool.)
Novel lovers, look out! Everybody's favorite San Gabriel Valley daily photoblogger Petrea Burchard takes us on a journey back to King Arthur's 'hood in her wonderful debut novel Camelot and Vine. (If you don't fall madly in love with her smart-ass narrator, you definitely deserve to be put into an iron maiden.) Be sure to keep up with Petrea at her legendary blog, Pasadena Daily Photo, AKA: Living Vicuriously.
And while we're on the subject of great takes on old themes, be sure to pick up a copy of Margaret Finnegan's delightful debut novel, The Goddess Lounge -- undoubtedly the kookiest, most wonderful riff on Homer's Odyssey ever written. Margaret never ceases to inspire and make us laugh at her blog Finnegan Begin Again. Her book is magical, silly, smart and a wonderful love letter to the all the goddesses among us.
Kevin McCollister of East of West LA blows our minds with haunting images of Los Angeles. But since we can't put his blog on our coffee table, we can buy his fantastic book. I believe Kevin's images truly capture the quixotic and often heartbreaking soul of LA. Don't take my word for it, see what The LA Times had to say.