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  • Writer's pictureEmilene Leone

A Weekend at Taliesin

I had the immense honor of getting the chance to reside at Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin estate last week, and I've love to share some of the photos I captured.

I had signed up for a weekend-long photography workshop, led by photographer Andrew Pielage Part of the main draw in signing up for it was finding out that the participants would be allowed to stay overnight on the grounds of Taliesin! I couldn't sign up quickly enough when I learned that.

Participants were spread out in various rooms throughout Taliesin. I was given "Joe's Cottage" to be my little home for the weekend.

This tiny home, nestled in the hill below the Romeo and Juliet Tower, was constructed on the footprint of an old tool shed. I've always wanted to live in a tiny house, but with a family of five people, five cats and one dog, it's not a very practical idea at this stage in my life. So I was delighted to have the chance to live my minimalist, tiny-home fantasy even if just for a few nights. It was cozy, lovely, and had everything I needed. I couldn't have been happier with it.

We had some lessons with Andrew, and were given incredible access to roam throughout the buildings and rooms of Taliesin.

I didn't take too many exterior shots. I stayed mostly inside. I felt like most of the exterior photos of Taliesin have been taken by many eyes, by many cameras throughout the years, and I wouldn't be able to come up with many compositions that other photographers hadn't already captured. The skies were pretty unimpressive---overcast and gray. I did take a few exterior shots but decided to add some color to the skies in editing.

Sky replacement can be a bit of a controversial topic, but photos with white skies are absolutely ruined photos to me, just a personal preference. Because I was just shooting for myself, for fun, I have the freedom to add a little whimsy with a colorful sky.

We were supposed to submit a photo for photo critique and I chose to submit this one, taken near the front door of the residence.

I had an incredible time exploring the residence. I have photographed it one time, while on a private tour, but having the ability to really take my time and compose shots was absolutely wonderful. Here are the photos I captured of the residence...

First, the living room

I had fantasies of seeing the master bedroom with beautiful morning light streaming in through the windows, but we weren't lucky enough for that.

I did get to see the attached en suite bathroom, which wasn't included on the tour I went on the first time, so that was exciting!

Here are some of the photos I took of Olgivanna Wright's beautiful bedrooms:

I spent quite a bit of time in Frank Lloyd Wright's personal bedroom/office space.

It is such an energetically charged space to me, filled with both positive and negative energy. So much has occurred within these walls, both wonderful and tragic, and any intuitive person will feel the history in the air as soon as they walk in the door.

One of the highlights of the weekend was a wine and cheese reception that was held for us in the living room of Taliesin. We were allowed to sit and chat and dine and laugh in this beautiful space, truly living in it as it was built to be lived in. I felt like the house was happy to have us, bringing laughter and positive energy to the space, and making new stories and memories, to add to its collection accumulated through the decades of the people who have passed through its walls.

The next day, I spent most of my photography time exploring the Hillside School and Drafting Studio, which I had never seen before. I love to photograph an area with fresh eyes. Here are some of the photos I captured.

First, the Hillside School:

Connected to the Hillside School is the drafting studio. Frank Lloyd Wright's genius and guidance is fully on display through the building.

The studio itself is an absolute wonder to behold, a cacophony of geometric lines and shapes

Overall, it was a truly magical experience for me. In some ways, there are so many new sights for my eyes to take in, but on the other hand, it feels like home. As a descendant of Driftless Zone settlers myself, the bluffs and limestone and landscapes and flora and fauna are as familiar to me as the back of my hand. Frank Lloyd Wright's respect and great love for this magical land is evident everywhere at Taliesin, and the fact that he was able to so perfectly intertwine the natural with the manmade makes Taliesin a rare gem among architectural treasures.

It was an informative photography workshop, a fun time with like-minded souls, and a truly unforgettable experience.

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