xHgGrtG-show-poster2x3-aXpIxNN.png

Artbound

Start watching
Tending Nature poster 2021

Tending Nature

Start watching
IYhnPQZ-show-poster2x3-Ytk6YwX.png

Southland Sessions

Start watching
RYQ2PZQ-show-poster2x3-OGargou.jpg

Earth Focus

Start watching
5LQmQJY-show-poster2x3-MRWBpAK.jpg

Reporter Roundup

Start watching
E5VnHdZ-show-poster2x3-PrXshoo.png

City Rising

Start watching
QraE2nW-show-poster2x3-uY3aHve.jpg

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement and Special Events teams.

M. L. Parker: Seeing Another Los Angeles

Maynard L. Parker took wonderful photographs of Los Angeles. After he settled down and married in 1929 (while building his own house and studio in Echo Park), he got a job with a commercial photo studio and later did advertising work for a big downtown jeweler.

Parker found he had a knack for photographing celebrity homes that burnished them with the glamour of Hollywood's Golden Age. Parker appeared unpretentious, but he had ambitions. His likeability helped. By the end of the 1930s, Parker knew all the right people in design and architecture in L.A.

There were no star architectural photographers then. All of them were making a living any way they could and hitching their careers to architects, designers, and magazine editors. Parker mixed print assignments with advertising work for department stores, furniture manufacturers, and suburban developers.

It was the sort of journeyman photography that Julius Shulman did. Shulman shot gas stations and grocery stores and illustrated a magazine feature about the lives of newly married couples. Both Shulman's and Parker's photographs sold their clients' products, whether it was bathroom fixtures or the architecture of Pierre Koenig or Cliff May.

Shulman became famous for his images of mid-century modernity and Parker did not in part because of the controversial editor Parker worked for and because most of the homes he photographed never made it into the approved canon of significant architecture.

Also Parker, unlike Shulman, never became the curator of his own reputation. He died too soon, after a too long decline.

Parker's photographs are almost forgotten now (archived by the Huntington here), but even a casual search among them shows another Los Angeles - a city of welcoming homes that warmly embrace both the new and the everyday.

Parker's legacy is the subject of a book in preparation from the Huntington Library, edited by Jenny Watts, the Huntington's curator of photographs. It will include over 200 of Parker's black-and-white and color photographs along with essays covering his life, his photographic practice, and his relation to the marketing of the "California Style" in the 1950s. I'll be talking about Parker and mid-century L.A. at LACMA on Saturday, October 16.

D. J. Waldie, author, historian, and as the New York Times said in 2007, "a gorgeous distiller of architectural and social history," writes about Los Angeles on KCET's SoCal Focus blog.

The image on this page is from the Maynard L. Parker Collection, part of the Huntington Library. It is used by permission.

Support Provided By
Support Provided By
Read More
un mazo de juez de madera

Justicia retrasada: tribunales abrumados por el atraso de la pandemia

Desde la manutención de los hijos hasta el fraude de seguros, los casos judiciales se retrasan en todo California. Solo la mitad de los casos civiles y penales se resolvieron el verano pasado en comparación con las cifras anteriores a la pandemia. “La justicia no se ha cerrado. La justicia se ha ralentizado”, según un grupo de abogados.
A gavel on a table

Justice Delayed: Courts Overwhelmed by Pandemic Backlog

From child support to insurance fraud, court cases are delayed throughout California. Only half as many civil and criminal cases were resolved last summer compared with pre-pandemic numbers. “Justice has not shut down. Justice has slowed down,” according to an attorneys’ group.
People pull up in their vehicles for Covid-19 vaccines in the parking lot of The Forum in Inglewood, California on January 19, 2021. | FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

L.A. County Expands COVID Vaccines to Residents 65 And Older

L.A. County began scheduling COVID-19 vaccination appointments for those aged 65 and older today, but limited supplies and uncertainty about future allocations has left the inoculation effort shrouded in doubt.