Mid-Century Modern: Architecture, Photography, and the Good Life in Cold War California | Los Angeles Public Library
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Mid-Century Modern: Architecture, Photography, and the Good Life in Cold War California

Thursday, January 17, 2013
Episode Summary

Join us for a conversation about the hugely influential photographer Maynard L. Parker, who aimed his lens at the mid-century masterworks of the L.A. architects and designers whose homes embodied the American dream during a time of demographic transitions, Cold War anxieties, and a suburban society driven to consume.

Participant(s) Bio

Maynard L. Parker (1900-1976) built a career making residential spaces look their alluring best. Based in Los Angeles, Parker was one of postwar America’s most prolific commercial photographers, his sun-kissed style of photography offering a seductive domestic vision to a new consumer age. Parker’s work appeared in House Beautiful, Architectural Digest, Better Homes and Gardens, Sunset, and other popular home and design magazines of the 1930s through the 1960s. His lens revealed the homes and lifestyles of socialites and movie stars, the masterworks of internationally acclaimed architects and designers, and the modest ranch houses, tidy gardens, and new interiors which embodied the American dream.

Jennifer A. Watts is curator of photographs at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, where her exhibitions, research, and writing has primarily focused on the photography of California and the American West. She has coauthored several books, including This Side of Paradise: Body and Landscape in Los Angeles Photographs; Edward Weston: A Legacy; and The Great Wide Open: Panoramic Photographs of the American West. Watts is the curator of the recent exhibition, “A Strange and Fearful Interest: Death, Mourning, and Memory in the American Civil War.”

Christopher Hawthorne is architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times. Before coming to the Times he was architecture critic for Slate and a frequent contributor to the New York Times. His work has also appeared in The New Yorker, the Washington Post, Metropolis, Architect, Domus, I.D., Print, Landscape Architecture Magazine, and Architectural Record, among many other publications. He is the author, with Alanna Stang, of The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture, published by Princeton Architectural Press.

D. J. Waldie is the author of books, essays and blogs about Los Angeles and Southern California. He is a contributing writer at Los Angeles Magazine and a contributing editor for the Los Angeles Times. His commentary and reviews have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. He is widely known for his award-winning memoir, Holy Land. His most recent book is House, in collaboration with Diane Keaton. He blogs at KCET.org.