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Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, 1945-1982 Hardcover – Illustrated, 29 Feb 2012
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The book - which accompanies an exhibition at the Palm Springs Art Museum - examines "the cultural construction of America's post-war identity", but as far as we're concerned it's a chance to gawp at good-looking people in good-looking locations having some good-looking fun. --Esquire, February 2012
When it comes to California dreaming, the swimming pool is at the heart of the image of hedonism, laid back luxury and desire that is associated with the region. This collection of black and white and colour photographs delves in to the social history of Southern California, encapsulating the personalities, hopes and disillusions of America's post- World War II ethos. --Summit, Volume 12
A book where it's always summer, and therefore the perfect antidote to any lingering winter blues. --Stylist January 2012
Now the focus of a new Prestel publication, Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography 1945-1982, the swimming pool is considered as a symbol and embodiment of the Southern Californian ideals and expectations, through an enticing array of sun-filled photographs and a number of accompanying essays. --AnOther Magazine March 2012
Swimming Pools. Movie Stars. The Clampetts found them when they moved to Beverly. Hills that is. And they are what you find in this portable summer-between-covers collection of SoCal pool photos that feature the likes of Rock Hudson, Marilyn Monroe, assorted muscle boys, starlets, society dames, and just plain kids romping round the cement ponds. --Bookforum, Apr/May 2012
From the Inside Flap
Southern California's pool culture is the subject of this unique and luscious collection of photographs that explore the parallel evolution of an iconic symbol and an artistic genre. Since the end of World War II, Southern California's backyard pools-those blue-green oases in an otherwise often arid landscape-have symbolized any number of American ideals: optimism, wealth, consumerism, escape, physical beauty, and the triumph of man over nature. Simultaneously, the field of photography developed as a transformative method for recording the human condition. This exhibition catalog celebrates the nexus of these two phenomena in a one-of-a-kind collection that features more than two hundred works by more than forty postwar artists and photographers.See all Product description
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If you are a bit of a pool nut like me and love a bit of nostalgia which california is loaded with then this book is for you!!
There is also much here on the pool as a focus of Hollywood's mid-century gay culture, and it must be said that this last theme rather runs away with things. Aside from a couple Ruth Bernhard portraits, the only women to show up here are either embalmed housewives or gay icons like Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield. In short, the book got a little sidetracked, if not downright highjacked, by one of its subplots. Really fellas, did it never enter your head that a woman might also feel vital near one of those big vats of chlorine?
The majority of the images are either small, black and white, of people in their bathing suits with no swimming pool in sight, crotches, and penises.
Pretty disappointed to say the least. Even so much that I returned it. This book was of no visual value to me.