Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

It's sometimes difficult to capture space in a shot, which is why real estate photographers have a hard task ahead of them. Here's a lowdown. 

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Andrea Chang
Published: 30 April 2016, Los Angeles Times

Real estate photographer Michael McNamara shoots a celebrity home along the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles. (Michael McNamara / Shooting LA)
Listing your home? It pays to hire a pro photographer.

Everyone seems to be a shutterbug these days, but grainy smartphone pics just don't cut it when it comes to producing eye-catching images that attract prospective buyers.

"I've had clients tell me, 'I've got an iPhone 6,' and I have to stop myself from cringing," said luxury real estate broker Kofi Nartey of the Agency.

Professionally photographed homes sell faster and for more money than homes listed with point-and-shoot photos, according to a 2013 Redfin study. The report found that for homes priced between $400,000 and $499,999, those with professional pictures sold for an average of $11,200 more than homes with amateur photos. [read more]

This story was a cool one to research. Lots of "ooh, I didn't know that" moments :) 

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Megan Gambino
Published: 23 Mar 2016, Smithsonian

Jeremy Scott (United States, born 1975) for Adidas, Boots, Spring/Summer 2013. (Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA)

It’s easy to think that men’s fashion is less exciting than women’s. “Most people’s idea of menswear is the standard business suit in a blue-black-brown palette,” says Sharon Takeda. But a new exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) begs to differ.

Takeda, head of the costume and textiles department, and curators Kaye Spilker and Clarissa Esguerra mostly plumbed the museum’s permanent collection of more than 35,000 objects for notable trends in the past three centuries of men’s fashion. They turned up court dresses for 18th century noblemen, an ultraconservative bathing suit from 1900, and a striped zoot suit, and selected 200 looks to feature in “Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715–2015,” opening April 10. [read more]


Our Oddball River

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

The Los Angeles River is everywhere these days, but it's also had the starring role is some strange derring-do. Here's an overview.

Poking Good-Natured Fun at the L.A. River
Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Carribean Fragoza
Published: 14 Mar 2016, KCET

Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library.
Anyone who’s stepped on the banks of the Los Angeles River knows it’s an experience quite unlike that of going to see the Mighty Mississippi, much less the Thames or the Danube. Majestic isn’t an adjective that comes to mind when visiting this city’s river. Strange, surreal, different would be more applicable.

Unlike its counterparts, the Los Angeles River is a seasonal alluvial river, meaning its banks and bed consists of loose sediments and rock. This relaxed foundation allowed its path to change wildly depending on water flows and season. Before it was paved, it could be dry enough to build homes beside, but when it rained, it could transform into a roiling hazard.

It is, in short, an unpredictable, oddball river. Which is perhaps why it is the butt of many jokes in Los Angeles. Just like the strange kid at the playground who always gets picked on, the L.A. river is ripe for taunts because of its deviance from the norm. History is filled with humorous takes on the city’s river. [read more]


It'll take more than a subway line

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Op-ed pieces are a different kind of animal for journalists. Where one is about balanced views, the other is more about taking a stand and making your opinions heard. Here's my latest on building better connections for all of LA's different neighborhoods. 

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Matthew Fleisher
Published: 5 Feb 2016, Los Angeles Times

 his 2013 book, “Happy City,” urban theorist Charles Montgomery argues that car-dependent suburban sprawl makes people feel isolated and unhappy, and that a well-designed city is one that enables people to live connected lives.

“The most important psychological effect of the city is the way in which it moderates our relationships with other people," he writes. Densely populated cities that encourage people to walk or take public transportation and offer a mix of housing types enable more personal interaction and thus, human contact.

Bluntly put, Los Angeles’ sprawl doesn’t do it any favors in the happy department. The city’s iconic freeways were intended to ease travel from one neighborhood to another but instead have created siloed neighborhoods. Great gems of neighborhoods, yes, but separated by gray concrete ribbons.

Crossing those barriers can be an epic undertaking. [read more]

What does the future hold for Los Angeles? If these guys get their way, it could be a greener, more agricultural future that bodes well for everyone. Here's a sneak peek at what could be. :)

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Christine Grillo

Drive through the neighborhoods of Lincoln Heights, Cypress Park, and Chinatown and one can see a glimpse of gritty Los Angeles. Industrial warehouses and low-income housing dot the roadways as the Los Angeles River, freeways and train tracks slice through the neighborhood. In countless movies, this landscape has always been depicted as a wasteland of concrete and grime, where things are more gray and brown.

But a new report produced by architecture firm Perkins + Will and the LA River Revitalization Corporation explores a tantalizing what-if—what if these river adjacent communities could be green instead of gray? [read more]



Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

 Oyler Wu Collaborative design a new creative laboratory
Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Sam Rogers
Published: 7 January 2016, Wallpaper*

Old meets new in Hollywood with the opening of 3DS Culinary’s new creative laboratory, designed by Oyler Wu Collaborative. 'The space was about applying 3D printing to food,' explains Jenny Wu, principal of the Los Angeles-based firm. 'We wanted to make sure that our design echoed that same theme of trying new things in terms of techniques and fabrication.' [read more]



Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Amorphis rethinks the rotunda at Oregon State University
Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Sam Rogers
Published: 05 Nov 2015, Wallpaper*

Students often find their noses stuck in books or digital devices, but Afterglow, a new permanent installation at Oregon State University’s new Student Experience Centre, will give them a reason to look up and wonder. [read more]

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