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Required Reading: Interior Portraits by Photographer Leslie Williamson

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Required Reading: Interior Portraits by Photographer Leslie Williamson

April 3, 2018

If you follow SF-based photographer Leslie Williamson on Instagram, you know she’s rarely at home; she’s too busy flying around the world documenting the homes of midcentury artists, architects, and designers. Her first two books, Modern Originals and Handcrafted Modern, are classics that belong on the shelves of any design devotee.

In her third book, Interior Portraits: At Home with Cultural Pioneers and Creative Mavericks, Williamson takes us on a tour of California homes, from Robinson Jeffers’s seaside cabin and cottage and tower in Carmel to architect Charles Moore’s iconic Sea Ranch house.

What especially caught our eye: the home and studio of sculptor Alma Allen in Joshua Tree, filled with his finished and in-progress biomorphic wood and bronze sculptures. (Another favorite: Alice Waters’s Oakland garden; take a tour at  Californians at Home: Intimate Portraits by Leslie Williamson on Gardenista.)

Photography courtesy of Leslie Williamson and Rizzoli.

alma allen exterior leslie williamson interior portraits
Above: “The home and studio that Alma designed and built curl around an enclosed central courtyard,” Williamson writes, “so the grouping of buildings feels a bit like a compound. Each structure is made of cinderblock, concrete, and wood with two large walls of sliding glass as the front entrance.”
alma allen interior portraits leslie williamson studio
Above: On display in Alma’s living space: sculptural carved works, some that function as furniture. “When I look at his pieces, I feel transported—no doubt to my imaginary lunar world of Alma,” Leslie writes.
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Above: “The living space is simple and essential—a combined kitchen and living room, a small utility area, and a bedroom with a master bath all opening out to the central courtyard,” Leslie writes.
alma allen leslie williamson interior portraits kitchen
Above: Beauty in imperfection: Note the irregularly positioned cabinet pulls in the kitchen.
alma allen leslie williamson interior portraits hallway
Above: “A bench in the small utility area leading to the bedroom has twin street-find sculptures basking in the sun,” Leslie writes.
alma allen interior portraits leslie williamson bedroom
Above: “After a while, I found myself trying to figure out what Alma did not make,” Williamson says of her time spent at Alma’s compound. Among the pieces from other designers she spotted: an Eileen Gray E1027 used as a bedside table in his bedroom.

a hardcover copy of interior portraits: at home with cultural pioneers and crea 15
Above: A hardcover copy of Interior Portraits: At Home with Cultural Pioneers and Creative Mavericks (Rizzoli, 2018) is $34.43 from Amazon.
See more of Leslie’s work:

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