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Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, 1945-1982 Hardcover – January 11, 2012
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"I can’t imagine a book better-suited to escaping into on a hot summer’s day than Backyard Oasis." – W Magazine
"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."—Photo-eye, Best Books of 2012 list
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.
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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.