Playing house

Case Study photography

It doesn’t get much more Los Angeles than this, does it? This is the Stahl House, also known as Case Study House #22. Perhaps one of the most famous houses in the world. I have been dying to see this house for years. But the first thing I did when I got there is march to the corner of the pool deck to try and recreate the angle of the famous Julius Shulman shot. As I’m sure every single other visitor to this house does as well.

Carlotta takes us outside

We toured the space with the original residents, Mark Stahl and his mother, a delightful woman named Carlotta Stahl. She was as gracious as could be, pointing out her favorite parts of the house (mostly outside) and positioning us on chairs in order to see the best views.

Best pool view

Incidentally, after extensive research I can say there is, actually, no “best” view. Because they’re all jaw-droppingly amazing. And no matter where I stood, I raised up my camera and took a photo.

Like a DWR catalog

In fact, it’s impossible to stop taking photos. Maybe it was an effect created by the clouds below us, but the city below almost looked like it was a scenic painting. And no matter who is sitting where, no matter what they’re doing, they automatically look like they’re posing.

Carlotta Stahl, the original resident of the house

Is the house that photogenic because we’re so used to seeing it in that same famous photo? Or is it because it was truly designed to make the most of its epic site, practically perched directly over Sunset Boulevard, with perfect 180-degree panoramas of all of LA?

Such a beautiful house

I think it appeals to me because this is my preferred way to see LA: Looking through a lens of glass and steel that frames the fascinating story of someone’s life. As a house, and a view, it’s picture-perfect.

More about the USC/Annenberg Getty Arts Journalism Fellowship. More photos here.

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