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Unusual New Views of Modernist Masterworks Are Like Retro Instagram

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USC Libraries has more than 1,300 newly digitized photos of works by Neutra, Schindler, Lautner, and more

Imagine what "an architecturally inclined Instagram feed from the 1950s and 1960s would look like." It probably looks a lot like the latest addition to one of LA's best online archives. FastCo Design reports that the excellent USC Digital Libraries has just digitized more than 1,300 photos from what the library describes as "two of the smaller unique collections" they possess.

The photos were taken either by Modernist architect Pierre Koenig or Fritz Block, the owner of a color slide company who also happened to be a "German-trained architect." Between the two of them they managed to capture works by Koenig himself, as well as other Modernists masters like Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, Albert Frey (the father of Desert Modernism), John Lautner, and a couple of Case Study Houses. (There are also snapshots of a few Frank Lloyd Wright projects.)

Because Koenig and Block are no Julius Shulmans, some of the photos are dark, blurry, or not exactly level. But perhaps because of the combination of their architectural training and their non-professional approach to photographing structures, the photos capture elements and details that deviate from the well-known views of many of these masterpieces.