Snooping Around Mr Gesner’s House

June 5, 2013 by Sarah Warnaar

There’s times you meet someone, even just shortly, when you know it will stick. You realize you will not forget the encounter. That, somehow, the encounter is of value.

I flew to Los Angeles for a shoot with Ben Watts last week. It’s such a pleasure to work with a capable, professional team. Everything is well taken care of (berries and omelet for breakfast, hurray!) and it makes the whole experience feel smooth and energetic. Not to mention the locations the budget allows the team to shoot at..

The Gesner house is located at Malibu beach in California. It’s the playground of a gifted, creative architect with a heart for recycling. (His son was there as well. An actor who used to be the main man in “Sinbad”.) He told me his dad drove his mom, Nan Martin, to the top of the bay one day, pointed at a piece of land and told her he would build her dream house for her if she’d marry him. They lived a long and happy marriage. Maybe people get a lot from a fairytale like beginning? Like the cornerstone for their relationship? I’m sure there was more to it.

Self-taught architect Mr. Gesner built more houses along that very same bay. One of them being “The Wave House”, a construction which gave the inspiration for Danish architect Jorn Utzon when designing the Sydney opera house. Mr. Gesner still lives in the same house, which reminded me of a Dutch windmill. Massive shells and stones served as decoration, flora and fauna was abundant and I couldn’t begin to start counting the amount of surfboards scattered along the outside walls of the house. Mr. Gesner still gets up and surfs Malibu’s waves at age 82. It really was truly amazing. A creative play ground, but grounded.

And then when you leave, you want to take in every part of the place. Like the ending of a good book or the last day with a lover, a need is aroused to take every word and sight in, that they’re of essence. And when you think you might have missed something, you read the sentence again, you once more walk through the house and kiss your lover, probably in the same way, again. Of course you’re well aware it’s about the time spent on the journey itself, not the ending, but we’re only human after all and have a need to start, end, celebrate and sometimes mourn certain occasions. A need to pinpoint happenings and take a (mental) photograph of them. And so I snooped around Mr. Gesner’s house. Took a few pictures, but not too many (that ruins it) and felt quite lucky indeed for this experience.

Tags: Blog

Sarah Warnaar Modeling, internationally, taking in all moments and encounters. Appreciatively putting it out there through writing and photography. Books get me through flights, music through castings, my racer bike through Amsterdam.


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