|Setting out to record Los Angeles' unheralded religious history, photographer Robert Berger visited over 300 historic houses of worship over the course of three and a half years. Wandering through neighborhoods that seemed as foreign as distant lands, looking for steeples, crosses and domes vaulting towards the sky, he began to appreciate the vast web of the city, its wide range of ethnicities and constantly changing demographics. The churches, temples and synagogues included in this book are over 50 years old yet largely unknown by the general public and unappreciated except by their congregations. Many of these historic buildings are threatened by neglect. Some are by well-known architects such as Rudolph Schindler and Wallace Neff. Many are the imaginative creations of movie studio art directors looking for the perfect spiritual effect.
Lively text by noted architectural historian Alfred Willis makes the buildings come alive with tales of celebrity weddings, evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson's theatrical revivals, and a historic synagogue converted to a Welsh Presbyterian church whose choir performed in 'How Green Was My Valley'. The reader will experience the sense of awe the photographer felt upon first discovering these hidden treasures as the structures reveal themselves each more splendid than the next.
Robert Berger has been photographing architecture and interior design for the past 18 years. Assignments for clients ranging from furniture and lighting manufacturers to residential, hospitality, and casino designers have taken him around the world. His images have been published in various books and periodicals and have been exhibited around the country. His previous book, "The Last Remaining Seats: Movie Palaces of Tinseltown," done in conjunction with his former business partner Anne Conser, is now in its fourth printing. Limited edition prints of the images in Sacred Spaces are available from Berger/Conser Photography in Santa Monica. More information and samples of his work can be found at www.bergerconser.com
Alfred Willis leads a double life as both a librarian and an architectural historian. Holding a PhD in architectural history from Columbia University, he first specialized in late nineteenth-century Belgian architecture. In 1992, he was the founding editor of Architronic, the world's first electronic journal in architecture. His pursuit of new research interests while serving as Head of the UCLA Arts Library from 1992 to 1999 resulted in articles on Hollywood's Krotona theosophical colony and the early 20th century Los Angeles architectural firm, Meyer & Holler. Now working in Hampton, Virginia, he is currently researching the modern architecture of his native South Georgia.
Dr. Kevin Starr is the state librarian of California and a professor at the University of Southern California. He is the author of six volumes of California history the most recent being, "Embattled Dreams: California in War and Peace, 1940-1950." Kevin Starr is the acknowledged dean of California studies, the most eminent living authority on the Golden State and the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship for his writing. Kevin Starr was appointed State Librarian by Governor Pete Wilson, a Republican, and re-appointed by Gray Davis, a Democrat. He is a fourth-generation San Franciscan with residences in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacremento.