Venice remembers Marvin Rand

Architectural photographer Marvin Rand was 84 when he died on Feb. 14. Along Abbot Kinney Boulevard, where he kept his studio, Rand is being called one of them — a Venetian. Tibby Rothman in Venice Paper:

He admired greatness in it, demanded such from his friends who practiced it, and recorded it in his clients’ work.

Imagine this run of twentieth century architectural greats: Charles and Ray Eames, Louis Kahn—for whom he photographed the Salk Institute—Welton Beckett, Craig Ellwood, Caesar Pelli, John Lautner, Ray Kappe, Frank Gehry, Thom Mayne. For his photographs of their work, his monumental study of Watts Towers, and his books documenting Irving Gill and Greene & Greene, Rand was awarded an Honorary AIA title by the American Institute of Architects.


Marvin did not suffer fools gladly. He would wipe the floor with even established or successful architects if he believed their work was lackluster or did not uphold what the art was worthy of. But it was never personal to Marvin, it was always about his dedication to architecture.

Thanks to an introduction from [Lawrence] Scarpa, I first visited Marvin’s studio. I spent more time than I deserved there. “Now, Tibby,” he would say as a prelude to telling me I had something way way wrong. You wouldn't think you'd miss being trashed by someone so much. I'll miss it.

Rand was an alum of Art Center and Roosevelt High. From Elaine Woo's earlier obit in the L.A. Times: "Among Rand's most eye-catching photographs are his images of the circular Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood and the minimalist Hunt House in Malibu. He recorded the intricate details of Rodia's Watts Towers in a painstaking 1,500-photo survey for the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department. His extensive documentation of three of California's most important architects resulted in the books "Greene & Greene" (2005), about the legendary masters of the Craftsman period, and "Irving J. Gill: Architect 1870-1936" (2006), about the pioneering Modernist."

Date fixed

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