Wright Through My Lens

All photos © Mark Hertzberg (2021)

I had not been to many Frank Lloyd Wright sites outside of Racine in more than two years until a week ago. I had a gracious lunch invitation from Minerva Montooth for Sunday, and a last-minute photo assignment in Sparta, Wisconsin (west of Spring Green) Saturday, so I overnighted in Spring Green. I have always enjoyed challenging myself to see new things at familiar Wright sites on return visits. These are some of the many fruits of last week’s visit.

I photographed at the famous cantilevered Birdwalk terrace from below:

LR Taliesin 8.29.21 109.jpg

I noticed visitors taking pictures above me while photographing the Birdwalk:

LR Taliesin 8.29.21 066a.jpg

I do not plan my photo visits for a particular time of day / lighting…I shoot what is there when I am there. I explored Taliesin and the grounds of the newly-restored Wyoming Valley School Cultural Arts Center in wonderful evening light Saturday, before dinner with Keiran Murphy and “Mr. Keiran.” I visited both again in Sunday’s morning light. I saw the familiar sign for Taliesin in a different way, thanks to the sharp angle of the morning light:

LR Taliesin 8.29.21 005.jpg

LR Taliesin 8.29.21 002.jpg

The first thing I saw at Taliesin Saturday as I drove onto the grounds was the corn crib, dramatically lit by evening light:

LR Taliesin Corn Crib 8.28.21 001A.jpg

LR Taliesin Corn Crib 8.28.21 002A.jpg

LR Taliesin Corn Crib 8.28.21 017.jpg

Sunday morning I saw something different with a long lens as I drove up:

LR Taliesin Corn Crib 8.29.21.jpg

I used a powerful zoom lens to photograph Romeo and Juliet and Tan-y-deri from a distance both days:

LR Taliesin Romeo Juliet Tan-y-deri 8.28.21.jpg

LR Romeo Juliet Tan-y-deri 8.29.21.jpg

I continued to explore with the long lens:

LR Taliesin 8.28.21 009.jpg

LR Taliesin 8.28.21 010.jpg

LR Taliesin 8.28.21 011.jpg

LR Taliesin 8.28.21 012.jpg

LR Taliesin 8.28.21 014.jpg

LR Taliesin 8.28.21 015.jpg

LR Taliesin 8.29.21 028.jpg

I sat on the floor to photograph through one of the fireplaces inside Taliesin:

LR Taliesin 8.29.21 068.jpg

I explored Wright’s office – with its own cantilevered balcony – and the original drafting room:

LR Taliesin 8.29.21 053.jpg

LR Taliesin 8.29.21 051.jpg

LR Taliesin 8.29.21 058.jpg

I photographed Taliesin itself with long and short lenses:

LR Taliesin 8.29.21 006.jpg

LR Taliesin 8.29.21 018.jpg

LR Taliesin 8.29.21 024.jpg

LR Taliesin 8.29.21 021.jpg

LR Taliesin 8.29.21 062.jpg

Going to Taliesin means also exploring Hillside Theatre and the drafting room. The theatre is currently being restored.

LR Hillside Theatre 8.29.21 003.jpg

LR Hillside Theatre 8.29.21 005.jpg

LR Hillside Theatre 8.29.21 010.jpg

After photographing the ghost-like seats with the sheets covering them I looked for photos under the seats:

LR Hillside Theatre 8.29.21 013.jpg

LR Hillside Theatre 8.29.21 014.jpg

LR Hillside Theatre 8.29.21 015.jpg

LR Hillside Theatre 8.29.21 016.jpg

LR Hillside Theatre 8.29.21 017.jpg

I also looked up:

LR Hillside Theatre 8.29.21 020.jpg

LR Hillside Theatre 8.29.21 018.jpg

LR Hillside Theatre 8.29.21 019.jpg

Outside is a view of the theatre and nearby farm:

LR Hillside Theatre 8.29.21 025.jpg

Then I went to explore the silent drafting room, first reflected in the theatre’s windows:

LR Hillside Drafting Room Aug 2021 001.jpg

LR Hillside Drafting Room Aug 2021 008.jpg

LR Hillside Drafting Room Aug 2021 007.jpg

LR Hillside Drafting Room Aug 2021 013.jpg

LR Hillside Drafting Room Aug 2021 012.jpg

LR Hillside Drafting Room Aug 2021 010.jpg

LR Hillside Drafting Room Aug 2021 017.jpg

LR Hillside Drafting Room Aug 2021 018.jpg

And, Hillside itself:

LR Hillside 8.29.21 005.jpg

LR Hillside 8.29.21 008.jpg

LR Hillside 8.29.21 009.jpg

LR Hillside 8.29.21 010.jpg

I photographed Midway Barn from the road, on my trips between Taliesin and Wyoming Valley School and once from Hillside:

LR Midway  Barn 8.29.21 001.jpg

LR Midway  Barn 8.29.21 002.jpg

LR Midway  Barn 8.29.21 004.jpg

The last set of photos is of the Wyoming Valley School, now known as the Wyoming Valley School Cultural Arts Center. One of the only upsides of the pandemic is that the restoration of the school was able to proceed without having to work around visitors. Many of the changes are structural and not visible. Perhaps the most visible change is that the bricks inside now approximate their original natural color…the yellow of recent years was painted over with a grayish tone.

LR Wyoming Valley School Aug 2021 020.jpg

LR Wyoming Valley School Aug 2021 005.jpg

LR Wyoming Valley School Aug 2021 002.jpg

LR Wyoming Valley School Aug 2021 023.jpg

LR Wyoming Valley School Aug 2021 008.jpg

LR Wyoming Valley School Aug 2021 009.jpg

LR Wyoming Valley School Aug 2021 015.jpg

LR Wyoming Valley School Aug 2021 010.jpg

LR Wyoming Valley School Aug 2021 011.jpg

LR Wyoming Valley School Aug 2021 012.jpg

The desks in the classroom today are not original, but I enjoyed photographing them through the mitered glass in the evening light nonetheless. This historic black and white photo shows the original desks.

LR Wyoming Valley School Aug 2021 024.jpg

LR Wyoming Valley School Aug 2021 018.jpg

LR Wyoming Valley School Aug 2021 019.jpg

LR Wyoming Valley School Aug 2021 025.jpg

Robert Hartmann’s wonderful 1960s black and white photos of Taliesin and the school still hang on the walls. His photos documenting the construction of Riverview Terrace are in the rear of the dining room at the Visitors Center.

LR Wyoming Valley School Aug 2021 028.jpg

LR Wyoming Valley School Aug 2021 029.jpg

I leave you with a photo of the Marvelous Minerva Montooth and my Taliesin selfie. Technical notes: I do no “post processing” on my photos…I do not sharpen them or increase the color saturation. What I shoot is what I get. I sometimes open the midtones a bit and do a bit of dodging and burning in…nothing that could not be done in a traditional chemical darkroom. I use two camera bodies, one has a DX or crop frame sensor, the other is FX or full frame (equivalent to what would be recorded on a 35mm piece of film). The lenses used are: 14-24mm (used on the FX body); 17-35mm (on the DX body);  a 70-200mm on the FX body, and a 200-500mm, used on both bodies. When the 200-500 is on the DX body, it is approximately the equivalent in 35mm terms of a 350-750mm lens. I thank John Clouse for selling me that lens recently…I had a wonderful time exploring Taliesin and Wyoming Valley School with it!

LR Minerva Montooth 8.29.21 002.jpg

LR Taliesin Selfie 8.28.21.jpg

30-

 

 

7 thoughts on “Wright Through My Lens

  1. Hi Mark,

    Each photo in this issue of “Wright in Racine” is a delight. One after another they unfold to a new unexpected viewpoint, always an experience!

    I love your selfie. And thank you for using a soft focus for me!

    Best wishes and hopes for many more such posts,

    Minerva

    >

  2. These pictures demonstrate more than most that the act of photography itself is a noticing choice. A broad view provides perspective, and the fertile ground from which details emerge. A close-up eliminates the non-essential, focusing attention on the detail at hand. I’ve seen a lot of pictures of Wright’s work, but none with this range from distance and extreme close up. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s