In Handcrafted Modern, photographer Leslie Williamson captured precisely these quiet moments in the homes of designers whose work we know well, from Albert Frey to Wharton Esherick. Modern design’s detractors may lament its fiercely clean lines, but the big names behind the mid-century’s most iconic designs lived in a way that shows their ability to adapt, engage, and define a lifestyle driven by comfortable beauty.
Williamson set out a loose list of criteria, such as only shooting spaces that were intact as the owner lived in them and using natural light or illumination from existing fixtures. “I am neither an architectural historian nor a design scholar. I am basically a fan,” Williamson writes. “I interpret and understand the world by taking pictures of it.” The homes themselves are personal, poignant, and populated with curios and clutter lining thick, weathered shelves, low benches, and sideboards in nearly every shot. The collection—room by room, detail by detail—offers a remarkable case study in modernism’s human side, a stunning collection that shows the way these icons lived then is still relevant to the way we live now.