Sunday, August 30, 2009

Maynard L. Parker Collection

This link takes you to Maynard L. Parker's page at the Huntington, where you can access finding aids and info on the 58,000 articles donated to the library: "negatives, photographs, and other material consists of 58,093 black-and-white negatives, color transparencies, black-and-white prints, and color prints; 39 presentation albums; and 17 boxes of office records, 1930-1974." 231 boxes.

According to the Huntington's bio, Maynard "Mike" Parker came to L.A. in the 1920s and set up a photography business. From the 40s through the 60s, he was the principal photographer of the magazine House Beautiful. Through that and other work, he became one of the top architectural and garden photographers around. Here's a tidbit: because of his interest and skill at archery, Parker appeared as an extra in the 1938 movie Robin Hood.

The Los Angeles Times reported that 6,000 of the collection's photos are already accessible online, with more to come.

This 1939 picture is of the Earl Carroll Theater, just opened on Hollywood Blvd. It is now the home of Nickelodeon. The neon lariat is gone but the statue still graces the lobby.

The introduction to Parker's work--a video narrated by Curator Jennifer A. Watts--shows many of his photographs of model homes in the mid-20th century, and talks about how Americans turned away from public spaces at that time, creating privacy and insularity in their backyards. Fascinating stuff. The whole idea of public spaces throughout history and what it says about societies seems to be a rich topic among academics.

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