Parker Studio, Aug 2002

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When Peter Tolkin was asked by art photographer Laura Parker to design a photo studio/gallery behind her shingled bungalow, he wanted it to relate to – but not mimic – the “watered-down Greene and Greene aesthetic” so ubiquitous in Pasadena. “I planned to reveal what is usually hidden, including the joinery.”

Indeed, there is beauty in the exposed-plywood panels, redwood frame, and recessed cladding – typically swathed in siding – while even the pattern of the Simpson screws creates a kind of ornamental design element. The redwood was milled from trees that had lain for 40 years in a creek bed on Parker’s family property, naturally aged and water tempered.

In the 400-square-foot studio, which has one free-standing exhibition wall, Tolkin sees an “art crate” analogy – relating to how creative work is shipped. “But essentially, it’s a well-constructed box that gets northern light. A great place to shoot, read, think – and escape.”