Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Addison Mizner's Latest Project

Anyone who has ever been to South Florida knows the name Addison Mizner. Mr. Mizner, who died in 1933, is the only architect to complete more projects in death than in life. If he could Google himself from the heavens, he would be proud to find over 30,000 results... or, maybe he'd sue for misappropriation of his name.

Today, just about every developer of apartment complexes, shopping centers and country clubs "borrows" Mizner's name, along with a gross bastardization of the great architect's design elements. One offender is Mizner's best-known project, The Boca Raton Club (as it was named in 1925). While being passed around various real estate investors, this once charming lakeside hotel erected an ominous pink skyscraper in the late 1960s. Retained are still some of the original charming areas like the mosaic fountain garden just beneath the tower but even that area is adorned with a large green vinyl awning.

So, imagine my expression when I was hired to shoot the new Grand Del Mar resort near San Diego, arriving to find a familiar "Mizneresque" style of architecture. This Mizner project, however, seemed much different than the others.

As we went through our shoot days, I noticed that despite the large scale of the resort, none of the individual areas seemed too big. Intimate living room spaces, hallways that lead to special views, staircases that wind down underneath spectacular chandeliers... someone actually thought through these things. The Moorish archways, pinkish exterior, Spanish tile roofs and an elegant motorcourt all made me feel like I was in Florida circa 1925. (The only difference was seeing the California mountains and not having to eat mosquitoes during dusk and dawn shots).

The Grand Del Mar is Mizner's best work in 75 years.

The actual project architect is Robert Altevers who, according to his wife Lyla, studied Mizner's style from old project plans and photographs. As I told Lyla, her husband did a great job of interpreting Mizner's style and design elements. It really feels like Mizner, who appreciated the warmth of Spanish villas and Mediterranean patios. Sure, there are some modern elements that take away a bit of the charm but I'm probably too idealistic to be objective about the technical requirements of a modern resort facility. Anything short of actual time travel is just not good enough.

That's probably why I take pictures for a living.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Weekend Update

It has been a while since my last post. We have been busy shooting in San Diego, Miami and Trinidad. I have about 200 RAW files to process (taking 1-3 hours per file) and I'm about to take a 4-day workflow seminar with the famed Seth Resnik at d-65.

On the stock photo sales front, despite my 1,000-image library with Digital Railroad, I have yet to receive my first sale (I did get excited to provide a quotation for one image to be used at a trade show in Ghana but they decided not to invest the $99). I am beginning to question DRR's interface and wondering if PhotoShelter might have been a better solution for me.

In other news, the German photography website Inpholio has featured our recent Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach spa shoot, along with some great advertising images from other photographers around the world. Once you're on the site, make sure you click on my image to see the others from the shoot.

More news later...

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