Peek Inside James Schnepf’s Mod, Mod World

The photographer’s 224-page study of midcentury homes and the people who love them is out next month

A 1963 home designed by William Krisel. Photograph by James Schnepf

For decades Palm Springs was a resort town whose primary attractions included 18 holes of golf and the occasional Dean Martin sighting. These days the place is a year-round draw for midcentury architecture fans. Photographer James Schnepf spent four years capturing the scene for his book, Palm Springs Modern Living (Gibbs Smith), and he compares many of the houses he shot to famous faces. “To me these iconic homes were celebrity-like initially,” says Schnepf. “They were somewhat intimidating.” But when he got to know their owners, designers, and even a builder, they became more approachable. The book arrives just in time for an exhibition of his photos at Modernism Week, the celebration of ’50s and ’60s design, architecture, and culture that runs February 12 to 22.