UNESCO Plaque Celebration

© Mark Hertzberg (2021)

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 002.jpg

The early morning fog burned off in time for two ceremonies at Taliesin Wednesday September 15, one to cut a ribbon for the restored Tea Circle, the other to unveil two plaques marking Taliesin’s place in architectural history. One plaque notes Taliesin’s designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1976, the other notes it as one of eight Wright sites collectively named UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2019. The latter marked years of effort by many people with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy in particular. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Anne Sayers, Wisconsin’s Secretary of Tourism headlined the event.

First, I will show you two photos I took wandering through Taliesin before the event, showing the view of Tan-y-deri from Mr. Wright’s bedroom and studio and one I took in the Blue Loggia:

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 013.jpg

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 019.jpg

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 021.jpg

Kimberley Valentine, left, Carrie Rodamaker and Stuart Graff, center, greet guests before the ceremony:

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 012.jpg

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 032.jpg

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 046.jpg

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 049.jpg

Gov. Evers was introduced to Minerva Montooth shortly after his arrival (look for a profile story about Minerva and my history of photographs of her on this website soon):

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 081.jpg

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 083.jpg

Carrie Rodamaker, CEO of Taliesin Preservation, led the ceremonies in front of the Belvedere:

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 100.jpg

There was a break in the middle of the speeches for Phillis Schippers, left, Gail Fox, and Sid Robinson to cut a red ribbon at the Tea Circle:

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 104.jpg

Then the two plaques on the crest of the hill were unveiled:

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 160.jpg

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 162.jpg

Gov. Evers and Secretary Sayers then toured Taliesin:

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 193.jpg

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 175.jpg

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 215.jpg

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 229.jpg

Sid Robinson and Minerva greeted each other:

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 242.jpg

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 172.jpg

Taliesin UNESCO World Heritage Site 173.jpg

— 30 —

 

 

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-

 

 

What is in your basement?

Photos (c) Mark Hertzberg 2020

In the case of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hillside Theatre at Taliesin, there are some Pyrex-glass window tubes and thousands of roof tiles. The window tubes are thought to be related to the SC Johnson Research Tower, designed in 1943/44 and constructed 1947-1950, according to Kyle Dockery, Collections Coordinator for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The Tower has 17.5 miles of the tube windows (the Administration Building, designed in 1936 has 43 miles of the window tubes).

Hillside Basement Artifacts 002.jpg

Adm Bldg Tower 2010 014.jpg

Dockery says there are between 30,000-50,000 clay roof tiles which were made by Ludowici Roof Tiles for the Theatre.

Hillside Theater 2018 016.jpg“They were removed and replaced with the rolled rubber roofing in 1968 after a stack of extra tiles which had been set aside to repair the roof fell over and damaged a truck. The structure of the roof meant that the tiles needed constant maintenance and replacement so plenty of extras were kept on hand.” 

Hillside Basement Artifacts 004.jpg

Hillside Basement Artifacts 003.jpg

Hillside Basement Artifacts 005.jpg

I unexpectedly got to see these generally unseen artifacts in the basement when I was working with Dockery to photograph the newly-restored curtain in the Hillside Theatre in June. A shortcut to the dining room to photograph the curtain from the dining room balcony took us through the basement.

Hillside Theatre Curtain 104.jpg