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Marvin Rand dies at 84; photographer cataloged L.A. architectural history

February 20, 2009|Elaine Woo

"I'd say, 'Please get this photo and this photo,' " recalled Martin Gelber, a Los Angeles architect who was still in architecture school at USC when he met Rand in the early 1960s. "Marvin would say, 'That's OK, but look at this.' He would open my eyes to something I never saw.

"Sometimes I wouldn't get the shot I wanted," said Gelber, a past president of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects, "but I'd get a better one."

"Marvin's work was alive," said Santa Monica architect Lawrence Scarpa, who met Rand at the start of his career in 1989. "He'd look for streaks of light or shadows. . . . He was incredible at understanding space. He loved to talk about architecture, more than some of my colleagues."

Unlike many of his colleagues, Rand processed all his own photographs in his Venice studio and worked without assistants, except for his son.

When he was in his 70s, he bought a computer and taught himself digital photography. "He never quit," Scarpa said.

In addition to his son Peter, of Los Angeles, he is survived by his fifth wife, Mary Ann; a daughter, Vicki Rand, of Sacramento; a son, Paul, of Los Angeles; and two granddaughters. A memorial service is planned for early summer.


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