Photographer James Schnepf

and the people of Palm Springs

James Schnepf palm springs project mid centuy modern people
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Above: Raymond at Home. Photo: James Schnepf 

Over a four year period photographer James Schnepf undertook an ambitious project to record and capture the unique spirit of Palm Springs. Through its distinctive architecture, the individuals who call it home, and the culture of what is one of America’s favorite retreats. The large body of photographs became known as The Palm Springs Project which was exhibited. Recently a selection of the photos was released in the book Palm Springs Modern Living which is a wonderful collection of photographs that document both the iconic architecture and fascinating people of this desert oasis.

James Schnepf palm springs project mid centuy modern people

Artist Karen Barone


In the photographer’s own words, “The Palm Springs Project took root as I was beginning a new relationship with the desert in 2010. With the purchase of a 1959 William Krisel-designed home, curiosity began to get the best of me as I began exploring the desert architecture, landscape and its people. As a people photographer I began to question, “Who lives in that house? Who is the person that designed that house?” The camera has always acted as a passport into other worlds and a wonderful learning tool. Simply put, I wanted to meet the modernists that lived behind the decorative screen block. I went to work.

The Palm Springs Project is a perfect union of photographing and discovery. Over the course of the four year project I photographed over fifty architecturally significant homes and the owners that have lovingly nurtured them back to life. I have had the privilege of making portraits of the handful of Mid Century Modern architects who are still with us, masters who used the empty California desert as a canvas to make dreams concrete and to expand horizons of what the art of architecture could be.”

The people of Palm Springs. All photos by James Schnepf. Click on Image for full view.


James Schnepf palm springs project mid centuy modern people

Chance Meeting with Architect William Krisel


These wonderful photos and more are available in James Schnepf’s beautifully illustrated book Palm Springs Modern Living. Click the image below to learn more.


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5 years ago

These are amazing! I just put that book on my Amazon list, so thank you. Also, Palm Springs Modernism Week? Holy cow!