I recently came across a most fantastic book — Maynard L. Parker: Modern Photography and the American Dream. Published in 2012 by Yale University Press, it is a beauty. I must admit, I had never heard of Maynard L. Parker (1900-1976), one of this country’s most prolific and I would also say influential commercial architectural and design photographers of the twentieth century. From the 1930s through the 1960s, Los Angeles-based Parker’s carefully constructed images of a new modern American aesthetic and way of life, captured mainly in Southern California, filled the pages of numerous leading shelter magazines such as Architectural Digest, Architectural Forum, Sunset and Good Housekeeping. But it was with House Beautiful and its legendary editor-in-chief, Elizabeth Gordon, that Parker enjoyed his most successful and important partnership. In addition, Parker documented the homes of a number of Hollywood celebrities, and the work of a number of celebrated architects, among them Frank Lloyd Wright, Harwell Hamilton Harris and Pierre Koenig. Maynard L. Parker Modern Photography became an enormously successful business and Parker himself, working full-time since the age of 16, did without a doubt, embody the American dream. Although the coffee table cut of this volume could be misleading, it contains seven great, scholarly essays about the life, career and legacy of Maynard L. Parker. I found it seriously enlightening and quite a visual feast. And right now, in the dead of winter, those coastal and poolside photographs of sunny Southern California especially spoke to me!

Maynard L. Parker: Modern Photography and the American Dream, edited by Jennifer Watts (Yale University Press in association with the Huntington Library, 2012)