This past February, I met up with Matt Bliss, the owner of Denver based Modern Christmas Trees for one of the most exciting photo shoots of our careers. We had the unique opportunity to photograph Matt’s tree at one of the most famous mid-century modern homes in the world, the “Case Study #22” Stahl House in Los Angeles.
The tree was originally designed by Matt’s grandfather, Lawrence “Bud” Stoecker in the 1960’s. Back in 2012, Matt brought the family tree back to life and offers them for sale at ModernChristamsTress.com. A portion of the tree’s proceeds go to the Alzheimer’s Foundation, the debilitating disease that Bud suffered from and made a profound impact on Matt. He has vowed to contribute to the Alzheimer’s community through the sales of this trees and is always looking for opportunities to impact this particular community.
The legendary Los Angeles home was the dream of Buck and Carlotta Stahl. With the help of architect Pierre Koenig, they collectively created a mid-century modern masterpiece; which is still owned by the family today. The home was immortalized in photos by the great architecture photographer Julius Schulman in 1960, seen throughout the world by millions of people.
For Matt and I, having the opportunity to photograph the home that Julius Schulman made so famous with his large format film photography, will go down as the highlight of our year. For me personally, working in architecture and interior photography, it was a surreal experience. Matt and I were filled with emotions as we visited the residence the day prior, to plan our shots, to the moment we fired off the first exposures the following day. As the sun went down, the tree came to life, even the owner was in awe of seeing his famous childhood home lit by Matt’s tree. He pulled out his cell phone, taking pictures and texting family. It was a moment we both will cherish.