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  • Writer's pictureEmilene Leone

The Eppstein House, Galesburg, Michigan

Manifestation is a mysterious force.

When my obsession with Frank Lloyd Wright began earlier this summer, I decided to see if there were any Frank Lloyd Wright designed Airbnb homes available to rent in my area. I looked on facebook and found an "Eppstein House", claiming to be in Galesburg, Illinois, which is not far from me. "Ooh! I'm going to stay at the Eppstein House!", I told myself Excited, I immediately went to the Airbnb to book a night but was disappointed when I discovered that it was actually in Galesburg, Michigan, not Galesburg, Illinois. "Oh well, maybe someday", I thought to myself.

That "someday" came quicker than I would have guessed. I did in fact end up staying at the Eppstein House.

In another post, I will go into the details, but I managed to arrange a photography session of the McCartney House, in nearby Kalamazoo, Michigan. At first, my plan was to drive the 4.5 hours back home immediately after taking the twilight photos of it at sunset, but then I realized that the Eppstein House was nearby. Again, I went to the Airbnb listing, and found that, miraculously, it was available to rent on the date I would be in the area. My accidental manifestation worked! I did indeed stay at the Eppstein House!

I arrived late in the evening, tired after a long afternoon of photography at the McCartney House. An absolutely beautiful house, meticulously decorated with vintage furniture, decor and accessories. Initially, I had planned to play around with some evening interior photography. I've always admired the dark and moody look of interior photos at night, but it's not a style of photography I've had any experience with. But my brain was fried, and I was tired, so after making sure all of my equipment was charging away, I went to bed.

During my sleep, I had a visitor.

Frank Lloyd Wright showed up in my dreams that night, chiding me for going to bed early, telling me that his homes were designed to look their best at night. He walked me around the house, showing me the areas he wanted me to photograph, giving me very specific instructions for the shots he wanted.

I woke up from that very realistic dream at about 3 am, confused. It all felt so real. Did I really walk around the Eppstein House with the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright? I'm a spooky gal, so I'd never rule anything out. Maybe?

I was unable to fall back asleep so I just got up in the pitch dark, made some coffee and decided to follow Mr. Wright's instructions and do some nighttime interior photography.

I need to learn more about how to properly light these sort of scenes, so I wasn't incredibly happy with how the images turned out when I first looked at them in color, but when converted to black and white, I was pleased to see the results. Here are a few examples:

My plan had been to take "twilight" photos of the house, but at sunrise. With twilight photography, the photographer photographs a house completely lit up, all lights on, just as the sun begins to set. In this case, I wouldn't be at the Eppstein House for a sunset, but would for a sunrise, so I wanted to do the opposite: photograph the house with all the lights on, in the 20 minutes before sunrise. I was all set to go, but the weather was not cooperative. It had been pouring rain all night, with no signs of letting up. I was worried my plans for exterior sunrise photos would be thwarted. I could absolutely take photos with my Canon in the rain, with an umbrella, but I had brought my drone as well, for aerial shots, and there is no flying a drone in a rainstorm.

Again though, some magic happened. There was a temporary period where the downpour turned to a light sprinkle, just exactly at the time I needed to be outside. The universe was on my side. I ran out, and got my shots.

Maybe I shouldn't reveal my secrets, after all, a boudoir photographer would never tell what area's of a woman's body had some help from photoshop, but I am going to admit that those lovely skies were added by me in editing. The actual skies were completely flat and gray and colorless and overexposed. The house deserved more than the skies were willing to offer that day.

The rainbow is an artistic addition by me, but the fall foliage was all genuine and it was absolutely spectacular.

Once I shot my exteriors, I went back inside again to photograph the interiors, this time with natural light.

This photo is a good example, to me, of why a Frank Lloyd Wright house should be photographed by a Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiast. 99.9% of real estate and architectural photographers would miss the significance of such a shot, while to a Frank Lloyd Wright fan, it's an incredibly poignant composition.

Lastly, I'd like to share a photo that I probably would not have chosen as a composition myself, but in my dream, Frank Lloyd Wright was very specific that it was a shot he wanted me to capture, a closeup of the limestone patio steps. Here is is, photograph by me, composition by the ghost of Frank Lloyd Wright:

I was sad to leave such a beautiful home, but felt honored to have the chance to photograph it, and pleased by the idea that maybe, perhaps, I had a visit from the afterworld by the man himself. I hope my travels bring me this way again.

I'd highly recommend a stay at the Eppstein House. Here's the link if you are interested in learning more: Eppstein House on Airbnb

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