Eichlers Prove Ideal for Fine Art Photos

Cat House
'Roosevelt Circle.' All photos by Charlotta Maria Hauksdóttir

A fine arts photographer who lives in an Eichler has been photographing her neighbors in a project that suggests the homes are special places to raise a family – and make memories.

Charlotta María Hauksdóttir, who lives in Palo Alto’s Fairmeadow tract sets up her camera and tripod in the homes of “neighbors and friends and acquaintances and strangers,” she says, then lets the chosen family go about their weekend activities. She does not pose her subjects.

“I’ve been very fortunate,” she says of the shoots, and of her subjects. “They seem to relax. It’s more the kids who notice me there. It’s the kids who tend to look at the camera. I like it. It shows that they’re more self conscious.”

She returns once or twice later in the day to shoot again, then painstakingly overlays the multiple shots to produce one image, from which she produces a 20-by-30-inch print. “There is so much detail and some of it is hard to see so I try to print it fairly big,” she says.

'Kenneth Drive

Although there are no current plans for a local exhibit of these photos, a series she has titled ‘Moments,’ she has shown some in San Rafael and other spots, and will show them at the Photovisa festival this month in, of all places, Krasnodar, Russia. (Hauksdóttir met the curator during a portfolio review in Houston.)

People interested in purchasing her work can contact Hauksdóttir through her website.

She shoots these family scenes in other houses as well as Eichlers. “These are not studies of architecture but of families living in their homes,” she says. But Eichlers provide particularly apt settings.

“I like the open quality and the bright light in Eichler houses and how (the house) enhances the family coming together and settling in."

The photographer enjoys a day on the bay

She was inspired, she says, by “the open space in the Eichler house, the open quality, so you could see the whole family interacting with each other instead of being closed off in separate rooms. That was a big part of this, because the Eichler is intended to bring people together. And the light is important. (For these photos) it needs to be a fairly open space with some light. Bright and open.”


Hauksdóttir, who grew up in Iceland and studied there and at the San Francisco Art Institute, does a wide variety of photographic work, human-sized Icelandic landscapes, “traces” of detritus on the ground. “My work is a lot about memories and belonging and finding your place in the world,” she says.

In that way it’s a bit autobiographical, inspired in part by her and her husband’s move to the Bay Area from Iceland with their two children. They lived in San Francisco, then rented an Eichler in Palo Alto’s Charleston Meadows before buying two years ago in Fairmeadow.

'Ramona Street'

“We kind of fell in love with Eichlers,” she says.


“We were trying to figure out how we were going to create our life here, how we were going to create memories, what life for our children was going to be,” Hauksdóttir says. “(The Moments photos) are about how people make their home a place where they belong.”

“They’re a lot about memories,” she says of the series. “It’s time passing and you’re unable to get a hold of it and you’re creating memories and losing memories at the same time. And the house is a constant factor, and it keeps the family together.”

Black Eye
'Nathan Way'

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