Maynard L. Parker

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Modern Photography and the American Dream

Edited by Jennifer A. Watts; With contributions by Edward R. Bosley, Daniel P. Gregory, Christopher Hawthorne, Elaine Tyler May, Monica Penick, Charles Phoenix, D. J. Waldie, and Sam Watters

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Price: $75.00
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A fascinating look at the work of a photographer whose images documented and shaped the American suburban aesthetic following the Second World War

As a prolific photographer for House Beautiful, Better Homes and Gardens, Architectural Digest, and Sunset magazine, Maynard L. Parker (1900–1976) was a pioneer in documenting residential spaces and landscapes for postwar America. His extensively published, sun-kissed brand of photography made him a critical contributor to domestic design culture from the 1940s into the 1960s. Parker's lens revealed the homes and lifestyles of affluent Americans and celebrities, including Judy Garland, Clark Gable, and Bing Crosby, as well as the interiors, gardens, and built works of Samuel Marx, Frank Lloyd Wright, Thomas Church, and Cliff May, offering an alluring template for living in a new consumer age.

Maynard L. Parker: Modern Photography and the American Dream is the first monograph to consider Parker and his work. Lavishly illustrated essays by leading scholars set Parker's photography against the backdrop of an unprecedented demographic shift, the Cold War, and a suburban society increasingly fixated on consumption.

Jennifer A. Watts is curator of photographs at The Huntington Library and editor of Edward Weston: A Legacy. Edward R. Bosley is director of the Gamble House in Pasadena, California. Daniel P. Gregory is former senior editor of Sunset magazine. Christopher Hawthorne is architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times. Elaine Tyler May is professor of American studies at the University of Minnesota. Monica Penick is assistant professor in design studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Charles Phoenix is an author and performer. D. J. Waldie is a contributing editor for the Los Angeles Times. Sam Watters is an architectural and cultural historian.

“Parker knew exactly how to sell the American dream.”—

“The work of prolific photographer Maynard L. Parker (1900-1976) exemplifies modern photography at its most quintessential….Watts’ book is the first to define Parker and his influential career and features essays written by leading scholars about the photographer himself as well as the period of American history.” –KPCC, AirTalk with Larry Mantle 

“Yale University Press recently released the first monograph dedicated to Maynard Parker. It shows the photographer constructing a sunny ideal of postwar domesticity with images that captured Modern Americans at home.”—Architectural Record 

“an entertaining look at important work.”—The Los Angeles Times 

"This monograph, the first study of his life and work, is as wonderful as it is overdue." David Collard, Times Literary Supplement

“The nine essays in the book deftly set the cultural context, reminding us how the home can provide a site for an expression of a larger political discourse.” —Art Papers

“Well-written and lavishly illustrated, the book does indeed offer a rich vein for historians interested in how American modernism intersected with American capitalism to create a post-war American dream . . . The book will join other classic scholarship on domestic space and the built environment by Dolores Hayden, Kenneth Jackson, Sam Bass Warner, Elaine Taylor May, and Gwendolyn Wright.”—Southern California Quarterly

Honorable Mention, Photography/Art category at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival sponsored by the JM Northern Media LLC

Winner of the Photography/Art category at the 2013 New York Book Festival given by JM Northern Media LLC.
Winner of the 2013 Southern California Book Festival, in the Photography/Art category, sponored by JM Northern Media LLC.
ISBN: 9780300171150
Publication Date: December 4, 2012
Publishing Partner: Published in association with The Huntington Library
288 pages, 9 x 12
105 color + 160 b/w illus.
Bruce Davidson/Paul Caponigro

Two American Photographers in Britain and Ireland

Jennifer A. Watts and Scott Wilcox

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