I’m Carly Caryn, a photographer and stylist, based out of my two favorite historic neighborhoods, New York City’s Greenwich Village and the Hollywood Knolls in Los Angeles, CA.
I’m a rare breed of Hollywood, California native whose love of architecture first began at the age of five, though I didn’t know it yet. My mother would drag me along on the historic walking tours of Los Angeles that she lead in the early 1980’s. I was known affectionately as “the preservation kid”, and grew up attending open house tours, boarding meetings, and community outreach events sponsored by organizations such as Hollywood Heritage, The Los Angeles Conservancy, California Preservation Foundation, and National Trust for Historic Preservation. Despite my perceived adolescent boredom with these subjects at the time, something resonated deep within…
I went on to attend UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film, and TV and later, Art Center College of Design, where I graduated with a BFA in Film, a music video reel, and delusions of grandeur about becoming the next hot MV director, a la Spike Jonze. Shortly thereafter, Historic Resources Group, one of LA’s top architectural and historic preservation firms, offered me the opportunity to photograph the Hall of Justice in Downtown Los Angeles for its CA State Office of Historic Preservation Tax Credit application.
One photography assignment lead to another, and over the last 10 years, I’ve since become a fairly accomplished architectural photographer, working on over 60 high profile renovation and rehabilitation projects with such notable credits as: The Standard Hotel, SoCal Institute of Architecture (SCIARC), Yamashiro Restaurant, 4 major Hollywood Studios, and over a dozen historic loft buildings in the newly redeveloped Artist & Old Bank Districts of Downtown LA, in addition to many exclusive residences designed by such esteemed architects as Frank Lloyd Wright, John Lautner, RM Schindler, Ray Kappe, Charles and Ray Eames. Needless to say, Julius Shulman is my idol, and I should be so fortunate to follow in his footsteps.
Out of my architectural work, sparked an idea for a personal photography project and labor of love – documenting LA’s retro “googie” signage and iconic historic landmarks, which I later applied the same concept to in my travels to San Francisco and New York City. I was initially attracted to capturing hyper-colorful old signage and their neon fonts, graphic shapes and construction for fun and use in my artwork, but as the project progressed, I started to feel a sense of duty and purpose in photographing these old buildings and cityscapes. After witnessing many architectural landmarks go by way of the wrecking ball time and time again, it became a personal mission of mine to document these gems while they are still in existence and ideally, play a part in their preservation.
This idea has more recently evolved into a new labor of love project, “geo-tagging” my archive of photographs with GPS coordinates and other such metadata to pinpoint their exact location on a web-based virtual map. I’m currently geeking out with all the latest technology, utilizing Google Earth/Maps to create downloadable maps and walking tours. I firmly believe that utilizing this revolutionary technology has the potential to become an invaluable cultural resource for the historic preservation and architectural communities around the world, and I would love to play a part in photo documenting and mapping historic districts, building by building, block by block. It is my hope that, through the medium of photography, I can play a vital role in the rehabilation process of historic buildings, document our city’s most beloved cultural landmarks, creating a library legacy of photographic images and urban mapping surveys, for future generation’s use.