In 1960, French photojournalist Robert Doisneau was asked by Fortune magazine to document Palm Springs, one of the hottest vacation destinations of its time. Inspired by the location, and its celebrity guests (Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball, and President Ford, to name a few), Doisneau took 100s of color images, twenty-three of which were published in the magazine article. One hundred were eventually made into a book, Robert Doisneau: Palm Springs 1960 [Flammarion 2010].
Over fifty years later, part-time Palm Springs resident and documentary filmmaker/photographer Nancy Baron gives us a peak into the Palm Springs of today in her recently published book, The Good Life > Palm Springs [Kehrer 2014]. “For most people, Palm Springs evokes images of a resort town of exquisite homes, glittering swimming pools, lush palm trees, and stunning golf courses where the rich and famous go to relax and retire,” the publisher said in a statement. “For others, Palm Springs signifies a town that has faded with time along with the passing of a long procession of A-list celebrities that flocked there…” Through her vibrant color images of residents, homes, landscapes and quirky details, Baron shows us what she sees in a desert oasis that “symbolizes the American Dream – hope, determination, and the belief that we are all entitled to ‘the good life.'”
The book, The Good Life > Palm Springs, includes a forward by Aline Smithson, and an essay by Donald Wexler. Signed copies are available with a choice of one of two limited editions prints. An accompanying exhibition of the work is currently on view at dnj Gallery in Santa Monica through November 1, 2014.