Arizona Photographer Captures Frank Lloyd Wright Properties Across US

Published: Tuesday, January 5, 2016 - 5:14pm
Updated: Tuesday, January 5, 2016 - 6:29pm
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(Photo courtesy Andrew Pielage)
Pielage got the chance to photograph the David and Gladys Wright House before it was supposed to be demolished.

Andrew Pielage photographed his first Frank Lloyd Wright property about five years ago.

He took a tour of Taliesin West in Scottsdale and managed to pull a few strings to get permission to come back to photograph the place.

Growing up, he said he had poured over his brother’s book about Frank Lloyd Wright, appreciating the beauty of the architecture set in the landscape. But, taking that tour made him realize something important.

“It’s one thing to see it in a book, but it’s another thing to be able to feel the breeze coming through the bedrooms and touch the architecture, and just feel it,” he said. “Every property that I’ve photographed with Frank Lloyd Wright has a very unique feel to it.”

Now, Pielage said he has traveled to five different states and photographed 15 Frank Lloyd Wright properties. His favorite? The David and Gladys Wright House in Arcadia.

Pielage said he got the chance to photograph that property just before it was supposed to be demolished last year. At the time, he worked at hotel where he ran into the owner of the house and asked him if he could come document it before it was demolished. The owner let him come by the next day, Pielage said.

“Just the access alone to that place, as a photographer, was immeasurable,” Pielage said. “It’s such an awe-inspiring place, and to be there by myself alone with the architecture in the beautiful Sonoran desert at sunset, you know, it’s unbelievable, it’s a dream come true.”

Photographing that house, he said, helped him create a new shooting technique.

“Frank Lloyd Wright not only designed the building, but he also designed everything inside,” Pielage said. So, in his architecture, “the floor is just as interesting as the ceiling is because he’s designed it all to be integrated into each other.”

Pielage uses a tilt-shift lens and shoots two images of each room – one pointed toward the floor and one toward the ceiling. Then, he combines the two images together in Photoshop.

“I think you can’t really capture Frank Lloyd Wright unless you capture all of it,” he said.

His goal, he said, is to photograph as many Frank Lloyd Wright properties as he can. There are more than 500 around the world.

“I was raised in the outdoors and appreciating the environment, appreciating the sunset and the cactus and the mountains and the hills,” he said. “And I believe Frank Lloyd Wright did that as well.”

Pielage now teaches photography classes at Taliesin West. More of Pielage's photographs of Frank Lloyd Wright's properties can be seen here

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