PDN Photo of the Day

Ezra Stoller’s Vision of Frank Lloyd Wright

This year is the 150th anniversary of the birth of architect Frank Lloyd Wright—his radical designs are currently being celebrated at the Museum of Modern Art, and his buildings, as seen by architectural photographer Ezra Stoller, are the subject of a show at Yossi Milo Gallery in New York City, on view from June 29 to August 25. During his long career, Stoller worked closely with prominent architects including I.M. Pei, Marcel Breuer and Le Corbusier. His relationship with Wright began in 1945, when he photographed Wright’s Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona. The images were widely published and shown at the Museum of Modern Art in 1947. Stoller went on to photograph other Wright buildings, including the Guggenheim Museum, Fallingwater, the Marin County Civic Center and the SC Johnson Research Tower in Racine, Wisconsin, bringing his ability to render complex shapes and spaces to Wright’s avant-garde structures. Among the 20 images in the show are Stoller’s airy view of the Great Workroom in the Johnson Wax Headquarters, a space defined by slender columns set under structures that Wright called “lily pads,” and furnished with the curved desks and chairs he designed. Stoller’s photograph of the Marin County Civic Center was taken from inside an atrium and looks out through a low arch to a view of rolling hills, giving sense of the building’s relationship to its setting. Stoller’s image of Fallingwater also highlights the natural setting, looking  up at the building’s cantilevered balconies and comparing their undersides to the flat rock below. As architecture critic Paul Goldberger wrote about Stoller’s work, “his pictures … played a major role in shaping the public’s perception of what modern architecture is about.”

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  1. At and early age starting around 10 years old I started taking drafting classes and later architectural and technical drawing. Art was in my family but not technical which I’m inclined toward in all my creative endeavors. Frank Lloyd Wright was a designer’s work whose I was often assigned to practice and study. I’ve redrawn many of his houses as a student. And these bring back wonderful memories.

    My career led me into graphic arts, design and commercial photography which is the main thrust of my career today but I still shoot architecture and interiors whenever I can, and I still see how Wright influences me today in how I see architecture in my images.

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