Jeffrey Milstein is fascinated with how similar forms repeat themselves in distinctive ways. Here, he examines classic Palm Springs trailer park homes, each composed of the same basic units–the box-like “house,” the flanking carport, and the patio shelter. Photographing each one from exactly the same viewpoint, he shows how the owners have personalized their dwellings in a delightful range of architectural styles from Chinese to early Egyptian to Desert Modern. Parked on small plots with their narrow ends facing the street, these tiny homes were made of surplus sheet metal using technology developed in aircraft factories during WWII. Over time, people remodeled them, creating decorative facades and in some cases adding elements of architectural styles found in more affluent neighborhoods. In documenting these older mobile homes, including the Blue Skies Village Trailer Park founded in 1955 by Bing Crosby, Milstein reveals how we shape our world to reflect our dreams and aspirations.
This was a lovely “coffee table” style photography book. With the digital edition, I was able to view the photographs on my largish TV screen instead of my iPad screen. Even blown up, the photographs were beautifully vibrant and crisp. I haven’t spent much time reviewing these types of books because I’m really not anywhere near being an authority of photography, visual composition, etc. I like it or I don’t and can usually tell you why on a level of a normal 5 year-old. I liked the book because the photos are brilliant. I’ve never been out West, so I don’t know if the colors are really that saturated or if that is how Milstein edited his photos. Bright Tim Burton-esque color contrast (ex. Alice in Wonderland) is how I see the world before the pain of a migraine hits and it truly is the only good thing about getting them. Experiencing the world in that way makes even the most drab moments seem fantastic. This effectively made the subjects of Milstein’s photographs also seem fantastic. I also loved seeing how people have modified their trailers or left them the same over time and that they all seemed to be in great shape. To me, this was a testament to both good craftsmanship and taking care of something you love.
I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher, Schiffer Publishing, through Edelweiss for an honest review.