Book Review: Palm Springs: The Good Life Goes On by Nancy Baron

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Nancy Baron is a documentary filmmaker and photographer who lives in Palm Springs, Calif. In Palm Springs: The Good Life Goes On, she picks up where she left off from her 2014 book, The Good Life: Palm Springs, documenting her community of mid century modern enthusiasts. The collective community of self-proclaimed modernists are committed to the mid century modern lifestyle and the preservation of its architecture. Their homes, cars, and clothes pay homage to this carefree post-World War II time in US history that glows warmly in their vintage rear view mirrors. These informal images casually document the carefree Palm Springs lifestyle as though captured in passing, in the seemingly effortless way that most things happen in Palm Springs.

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“The dreamy Palm Springs vibe washes over the traveler at the first sight from land or air of the vast windmill farm sprouting from the Southern California desert, surrounding the town like guards at the gate to paradise.”

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In the book, Hugh Kaptur, an American architect of mid century modern residences and buildings throughout the Coachella Valley, writes: “Once after a meeting with William Holden, we stepped outside my office and I asked him why, with houses all over the world, was he settling in Palm Springs. Bill replied, ‘because the air is like velvet.’”

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Baron’s photographs of the interiors and exteriors of the homes and buildings in Palm Springs evoke a sense of instant nostalgia – even for the newly initiated fans of this iconic design movement. One cannot help notice the influence mid century modern design has had recently in popular American culture. From high-end reproduction design furniture like Design Within Reach, publications like Dwell Magazine, and the home furnishings featured in Crate and Barrel catalogs – Americans have fallen in love all over again with mid century modern design. This makes paging through ‘The Good Life Goes On’ like sneaking a peek inside 1950s architects’ homes, or getting a guest role on Mad Men. The style Baron brings to the page is everything Palm Springs has to offer; sun drenched lawns, vintage automobiles, manicured-minimalist landscaping, and an invitation to the lifestyle that has so much to offer.

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For me, Baron’s photos bring back nostalgic memories of my grandparent’s house. It was a modest mid century modern home, painted green with a sun porch built out of decorative concrete blocks, with patterns that looked like flower petals when the open sections of the blocks intersected. Their Danish modern stereo cabinet sat in the entryway with geometric side lamps making soft shadows on the imitation terrazzo floor below, while a bakelite kitchen clock quietly hummed as time slowly slipped by. Their house sat unchanging for decades, a testament to the enduring, timelessness of the way they lived – much like the homes in Baron’s photos. They sit like time capsules, yet still retain the feel of homes that are lived in and have personal, human aspects about them… soccer balls amidst the greenery, price tags on the candlesticks, and worn doormats gracing the entryway to their ‘American dream’.
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Palm Springs > The Good Life Goes On (2016) by Nancy Baron
Hardcover 8.8 x 8.8 inches
120 pages, 63 color illustrations

To purchase a copy of Palm Springs: The Good life Goes On, please visit Amazon.com

For more information about Nancy Baron and her portfolio of projects, visit her website: http://www.nancybaron.com/


Nancy Baron’s background in documentary filmmaking has led to her current dedication to fine art documentary photography. She documents the world nearby, mostly in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, where she lives. Baron’s work is held in public and private collections and has been exhibited in galleries across the United States. Her work has been published in many notable magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Mother Jones, Photo District News, American Photo and California Homes Magazine. Photographs from her previous book The Good Life > Palm Springs (Kehrer, 2014) were exhibited in a solo show at the dnj Gallery in Santa Monica, among other venues.

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The Relationship Show @ Colorado Photographic Arts Center

Photo: Hair, by Maureen Drennan

The Relationship Show
January 20 – February 25, 2017

Opening reception Friday, January 27, 6-9 pm

The Relationship Show explores four artists’ viewpoints on the beginning, end, and isolation within current relationships. Each artist approaches the topic utilizing multiple approaches that meet us emotionally, visually, and with bittersweet laughter. Exhibiting Artists: Maureen Drennan, Laura Beth Reese, Matthew Swarts, and Allison L. Wade.

Colorado Photographic Arts Center
1070 Bannock Street, Denver, CO 80204

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Connie Conway @ ArcLight Cinemas


Connie Conway: L.A. After SUNSET
January 17, 2017 – March 28, 2107

ArcLight Cinemas – Pasadena
300 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91101

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LYNN SAVILLE @ GRIFFIN MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Abandoned Michigan Central Depot, Detroit, Michigan

LYNN SAVILLE:DARK CITY
FEBRUARY 7 – APRIL 9, 2017

ARTIST RECEPTION: MARCH 21, 6:30-8:30PM

Saville’s work takes us deep into the urban landscape when the busy city streets are rendered quiet and emptied of people, except for the occasional lone figure or the artist herself, visible as ghosted images or shadows. The darkened city is Saville’s stage set where dramatic lighting and architectural components form otherworldly places and spaces that she photographs quickly with her medium format camera so as not to attract police attention.

Griffin Museum of Photography
Atelier Gallery at the Stoneham Theatre
395 Main Street
Stoneham, MA 02180

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Patricia Beary, Millie Falcaro, George Greenstein, Robert Kalman, Tony Kirman, Joan Lemler, and Allison Rufrano @ Soho Photo Gallery

© Robert Kalman

Patricia Beary, Millie Falcaro, George Greenstein, Robert Kalman, Tony Kirman, Joan Lemler, and Allison Rufrano
February 8 – March 4, 2017

OPENING RECEPTION: Tuesday, February 7, 2017, from 6pm to 8pm

Patricia Beary
Whisper Loudly

“Symbolizing death, cemeteries are both feared and revered. In this solemn setting I often feel like an intruder with my camera, but there are stories to be told. I listened with my eyes and in the whispers found renewal amidst decay. Each image solicits inquiry. Questions will outnumber answers as you interpret incongruous relics. Listen to the whispers and create your own eulogy. In this setting honoring the dead, life is revealed.”

Millie Falcaro
Enter Knowing

“The phrase, Enter Knowing, and the resulting emotional associations reverberate and stimulate unconscious associations as I use the materials in the chemigram process invented in the 1950s by Belgian artist Pierre Cordier. In this method, silver gelatin paper is manipulated by applying resists and by painting and drawing on the surface with traditional darkroom chemicals forming patterns and abstracted shapes yielding an unpredictable range of colors and luster.”

George Greenstein
Shadow

“The story is told that as he lay upon his deathbed Goethe called out for more light. The shutters were thrown wide: blessed sunlight dispelled the sickroom’s shadows. City dwellers that we are, with light available at the touch of a switch, we tend to forget the terrible power of darkness. I want to show what might happen when we enter the realm of Shadow.”

Robert Kalman
No Difference Between Them

“Robert Kalman’s extraordinary portraits of interracial couples in No Difference Between Them show us what love looks like. It’s not contrast but connection that he has captured. Kalman meets the shared gaze of each couple with warmth. And whether they hold onto each other or not, the couples look like they belong together. Kalman’s photographs witness their bond. No Difference Between Them is an essential record of what human connection looks like. And Kalman has done it with great skill and clearly great love.” — Heidi W. Durrow

Tony Kirman
Color Interactions

“How do we react emotionally to different colors, their complementary and antagonistic meanings? This series begins with Josef Albers’ painterly exploration of color’s weight, volume and humidity, translating it into the digital realm of hue, saturation and brightness. I use photo-gestures to create abstract images and then sample and manipulate specific colors to explore their interactions.”

Joan Lemler
Abandoned: Inside and Out

“I am intrigued by the ghostly quiet of deserted interiors and forbidden spaces. I like to photograph the peeling walls, revealing layers of color; structures in such disrepair that only light inhabits them, or abandoned buildings whose intricate design had to come from an earlier era. Most of all, I love to photograph the windows. No longer transparent, they are shaded, patched and broken with a patina that diffuses the light that pours through them.”

Allison Rufrano
Visibly Invisible

Allison Rufrano is an accomplished artist whose thought provoking work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions internationally including in New York, Italy, Russia, China, Korea, and Japan. Her evocative use of light and subject enables Rufrano to tap into the viewers’ perception, creating a personal dialogue between her work and the observer. Visibly Invisible deals with identity, where Rufrano utilizes herself to express internal struggle and uncertainty.

Soho Photo Gallery
15 White Street
New York, NY 10013

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Peter Massini @ Lionheart Gallery

The Chrysler, 20″ x 30″, digital photography with acrylic glaze

Peter Massini: Altitude
January 6–February 26, 2017

“Peter’s adventurous spirit finds him hanging from the open door of a helicopter on almost a daily basis, persistent in his quest for the best possible shot on each and every assignment,” the site says. “This persistence and tenacity are vividly evident in the stunning work he produces for clients, as well as in his dazzling, large-format iconography of [New York City], which he has placed in private and corporate settings worldwide.”

The Lionheart Gallery in Pound Ridge, N.Y.

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Representing Place: Photographs of Appalachia @ Tracey Morgan Gallery

Tammy Mercure, Cherokee, NC, 2008, 2008, Archival pigment print. Courtesy of the artist.

Representing Place: Photographs of Appalachia
JANUARY 19 – MARCH 5, 2017

opens January 19, 6-8 p.m.

Representing Place: Photographs of Appalachia, an exhibition of photographs featuring work by Ken Abbott, Rob Amberg, William Christenberry, Walker Evans, Sarah Hoskins, William Gedney, Megan G. King, Builder Levy, O. Winston Link, Susan Lipper, Bertien van Manen, Tammy Mercure, Pamela Pecchio, Mike Smith, Doris Ulmann and Bayard Wootten.

Tracey Morgan Gallery 188 Coxe Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

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IRAN CONTEMPORARY @ FOTOHOF

Behnam Sadighi. aus der Serie: Holidays, 2010-2012

IRAN CONTEMPORARY Positions artistic documentary photography
January 27 – March 4, 2017

Hannah Darabi | Farzane Ghadyanloo | Navid Reza Haghighi | Laurence Rasti | Behnam Sadighi | Bahram Shabani | Newsha Tavakolian

The pictures of the exhibition will provide insights into areas of life and social conditions of Iran that outsiders are not accessible. This ranges from everyday changes in the cityscape Tehran over private and uncontrollable by the state lives within Iranian middle class families to photographs of people who take refuge in a parallel world. The relationship between public and private is a key issue for all participating artists.

FOTOHOF / Inge-Morath-Platz 1-3 / 5020 Salzburg / Austria

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William Eggleston @ Foam

William Eggleston, Memphis, 1965 – 1968, from the series Los Alamos, 1965–1974
© Eggleston Artistic Trust / Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London

William Eggleston – Los Alamos
17 March – 7 June 2017

Los Alamos starts in Eggleston’s home town of Memphis and the Mississippi Delta and continues to follow his wanderings through New Orleans, Las Vegas and south California, ending at Santa Monica Pier. During a road trip with writer and curator William Hopps, Eggleston also passed through Los Alamos, the place in New Mexico where the nuclear bomb was developed in secret and to which the series owes its name.

Foam
Keizersgracht 609
1017 DS Amsterdam

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Book Review: Based on a False Story by Al Brydon

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What was old is new again – A conversation with the past

A drawer with rolls of exposed film sat quietly for years. Every once in awhile, Al Brydon would nose about in that drawer, then shut it and forget about them again. But one day he didn’t shut the drawer. “I couldn’t tell you why”, Brydon recalls. “When it’s time it’s time, I guess. The rolls of film suddenly became a way of having a conversation with my past self. I just needed fifteen or so years to realise it. Who wouldn’t want to get into a time machine?”

Brydon took on the chance of obliterating the images taken years before. The fruitful happenstance results of re-exposing those rolls of film were well worth the risk.  While the number of chances for good double exposures was very high, taken amongst roughly between 500 and 600 frames, Brydon states, “The hit rate for usable images was low. There’s only so much serendipity one person can muster it seems.”

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The images in Based on a False Story are a wonderful mix of beautiful double-exposed portraits of old friends and new, juxtaposed landscapes, and tactile images of balanced geometric shapes and forms that construct dreamlike scenes with silhouetted human forms in the distance, or trees forming a horizon line within the portrait of a young man. The images draw in the viewer and evoke a sense of recalling past places and people affected by the passage of time. ‘False Story’ is Brydon’s second book published through Another Place Press this year, and rounds out a full year of marvelous publications from this small-but-mighty publisher.

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Brydon has worked with double exposed film in other projects, including a project with California based photographer J.M Golding. Brydon and Golding swapped rolls of film each other had shot in their respective haunts, and the resulting project, “Tales from a non-existent land”, have a strong influence for this new project. Both projects may be born from a specific type of photographic technique, but both also transcend and speak of something more than the photographic process itself. Brydon has taken it even further by addressing the landscape of the physical and metaphysical worlds.

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Brydon has described his process of working on his landscape work through the analogy of listening; “The dead sing songs, and I am trying to learn how to hear them.” With consideration to all the occurrences man has taken to alter the physical landscape surrounding him, Brydon listens and tries to interpret the history of the land, both past and present. In this way, ‘False Story’ is also a process of connecting one’s past and present. This applies to the personal as well as the physical. Brydon says, “Some of the last photographs I had of one of my best friends were hidden in the rolls somewhere and I was worried about losing them. As it turned out, one of these particular photographs became the most successful in terms of delivering exactly what I was trying to convey. But I had no idea what was on the films really. It was more about a feeling than any compositional considerations. I tried to imagine the younger Al and I walking together while I was making the photographs. What would we have talked about? Would we have even liked each other? We are two extremely different people after all. I just walked and went to places that felt right. There were no rules and no deadlines. I was in the enviable position of freedom within the confines of a two dimensional medium and a limited number of rolls of film.”

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When I asked if ‘False Story’ feels like departure from the majority of the landscape work he has been creating, Brydon said, “Maybe a slight departure… I’d like to say everything I do is well thought out and totally intentional, but this is a falsehood. I make the work, then work out why as I go along. In this instance the process did inform the end result. I was aware there would be some photographs on there I would have liked to see without the addition of another frame over the top. There’s a sadness to the work, but it’s necessary, and as it should be. But the world happens to be immensely beautiful, and I hope I’ve at least conveyed some of that beauty in the photographs.”

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From all the various types of films stored in that drawer, Brydon had to impose some order for the purpose of the project. “Because I was working with different films and due to the chaotic nature of the work I wanted a uniform aesthetic. They were scanned and converted to mono with slight adjustments here and there. I also added the scratches but this was done by literally kicking the negatives around in my cellar. The act of re-exposing the negs was a destructive one and I wanted to continue that destructive process after I’d got the processed films back from the lab. I knew once the films had been processed and the work finished that effectively it would be the end of the conversation. I’m not sure about the long term effects of the work yet. I’m interested to see how I feel about the photographs in a year or so.  I did however keep one film back. This will be re-exposed in another fifteen years so I can have one more stern chat with myself.  I will be 55 years old.”

This psychological evaluation of one’s current self against one’s past self reveals what we know to be true – we are not who we once were. By examining our past self, we change not only who we were, but who we are now. Through the process of creating ‘False Story’, Brydon’s conversation with his past self and destruction of his original images has actually revealed glimpses of his present self. We can only assume that his current work will foretell the work to be created in 15 more years – when he will re-discover who he is, and was, anew.

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Based on a False Story by Al Brydon
© 2016 – published by Another Place Press
http://anotherplacepress.bigcartel.com/
52 pp / 210 x 150mm
Perfect Bound
Fedrigoni & GF Smith papers:
350gsm Colorplan cover, 170gsm Uncoated text
ISBN 978-0-9935688-8-6


Al Brydon is a photographer based in the North of the UK. He is less tall than he seems on the internet. To see more work and projects, visit his website: http://www.al-brydon.com/

Another Place Press is a small independent publisher interested in contemporary photography that explores landscape in the widest sense, covering themes which include land, place, journey, city and environment – from the remotest corners of the globe to the centre of the largest cities. Iain Sarjeant is the founder and editor of Another Place, and Another Place Press.

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