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California Captured: The photography of Marvin Rand

Marvin Rand was a significant chronicler of southern California’s greatest mid-century modern architecture. His lens captured postwar Los Angeles and documented the work of the astonishing talents of the day – Richard Neutra, John Lautner, Craig Ellwood, Louis Kahn, Frank Lloyd Wright and Rudolph Schindler. A new book California Captured: Marvin Rand by Phaidon documents his life’s work.

Craig Ellwood, Case Study House #18, Beverly Hills, 1958. Picture © courtesy of the Estate of Marvin Rand
Craig Ellwood, Case Study House #18, Beverly Hills 1958 © Estate of Marvin Rand

The LA native started his career in advertising in the 1950s before shifting to architectural photography. Rand played a key role in shaping the mid-century Californian style. His approach was much like an artist, creating abstractions out of lines and structures. He was always keen to capture the building rather than the LA lifestyle. It is this that set him apart from many of his contemporaries.

 

Louis Kahn Salk Institute, La Jolla, 1963. Picture © courtesy of the Estate of Marvin Rand
Louis Kahn Salk Institute, La Jolla, 1963 © Estate of Marvin Rand

 

One of the many highlights of the book are Rand’s photographs of Ellwood’s most celebrated projects for the way he frames the brilliant clarity of these modernist structural against the dreamy backdrop of LA’s vast, washed-out open sea and sky, and the Malibu surf. California Captured is a stunning collection of LA’s modernist buildings and a glimpse into this remarkable time in history.

 

Craig Ellwood, Palevsky House, Palm Springs, 1971. Picture © courtesy of the Estate of Marvin Rand
Craig Ellwood, Palevsky House, Palm Springs 1971 © Estate of Marvin Rand

 

Louis Kahn Salk Institute, La Jolla, 1963. Picture © courtesy of the Estate of Marvin Rand
Louis Kahn Salk Institute, La Jolla 1963 © Estate of Marvin Rand

 

California Captured: Marvin Rand Spinach Branding
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