Monthly Archives: June 2017

Elana Sasson – Final Documentation

This book is a synthesis of the Iranian architect Nader Khalili’s story and life work, Cal-Earth, and my own family’s history of immigration from Iran. Nader Khalili loved the poetry of Persian mystic Rumi, much of which he translated into English. Rumi’s work largely focuses on humanity and the elements of Earth, Water, Air, and Fire, which directly connects to Khalili’s sustainable earth architecture. Khalili draws elements from classical ancient persian architecture, such as the dome and the arch, preserving old custom with new technology. Khalili’s story of immigration takes place years before my family’s, years before the Iranian Revolution. He migrated to the United States in pursuit of education, whereas mine came on refugee status. Both left the Iranian capital of Tehran to settle in the diverse Californian landscape. As a child, I visited my Baba Bezorg and Ammu Bezorg’s house every Friday night. I remember looking through my Grandmother’s persian books, seeing the very same swirling script letters as the ones in this book. I can taste the hot darjeeling tea and the lingering fenugreek and saffron from her food. Though my family has lived in this country for several decades, the stories and culture they came with have not faded away. They have fused them with their new life to take on new shape and color, merging the old traditions of their homeland with the modernity of their adopted one, much like the clay domes Khalili built.

Book Documentation:

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Selection of images from the book:

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Book PDF

Final Project Documentation


Excessive wealth excites me. It excites all of us.

It’s feeling when you nally save up enough money to buy a plane ticket, cover the cost of the hotel for the duration of your time o , and eat how you want to in your Travel & Leisure inspired vacation. Actually, more speci cally, it’s that feeling when you board the plane and nd yourself walking past the rst group of seats that have already been lled, to nd your own. It’s that feeling when you choose an Uber to the hotel instead of an Uber X. It’s that feeling when the hotel host walks you to your room, conveniently located past the ‘presidential suite.’

This book is a photographic exploration of entitlement and wealth in the digital era.


In looking through over 250 reviews of Greystone Mansion, I included only 20 of the most baffling, intriguing, or unhelpful reviews. I have uncovered reviews that contradict other accounts of the same site, reviews that prove to be more true than the reviewer even intended, and reviews that were so beautiful their words do more than my photographs.

Through the creation of this book, I have come to believe that technology and art (either in the form of word or image) are the ultimate enablers of entitlement. Now more than ever, we live in a landscape in which we feel that we have some intrinsic right to have our opinion heard, to be listened to. In Edward Doheny’s time, money talked. You had to earn the right to be heard.

But what about today? Who are we to judge and evaluate places and experiences that we borrow willingly? What gives us the right to shape collective perception our world?

pdf version here 

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Documentation and final images.

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Video Documentation:




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