chris mottalini

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An excerpt from the new feature on Curbed.com (written and photographed by Chris Mottalini)...view the Curbed feature here.


I’d never had the chance to see Hawaii, until, through a series of random occurrences and connections this past spring, I met a good friend of the granddaughter of the undisputed master of Hawaiian modernism, Vladimir “Val” Ossipoff. She wondered if I’d be interested in photographing the work of the famed, hugely influential, but simultaneously sort of underappreciated (at least on the mainland) architect.

I specialize in photographically preserving modernist architecture and, though I was familiar with Ossipoff’s work, I’d only ever seen it in pictures and drawings; an 11-hour flight from New York City to Honolulu would be required to actually see his work in person. I thought about it for all of a minute or two and soon my flight was booked and the trip was planned. I didn’t know if I’d be able to publish the work, but I felt it was something I had to see for myself.