The Wright Way

When you think of Frank Lloyd Wright, the first thing that pops into your head is probably not "Florida". In 1939, Dr. Ludd Spivey, who was then the president of Florida Southern College, commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to come up with a design for a small vacation home in the Las Olas Isles. Dr. Spivey was already very familiar with the work of Frank Lloyd Wright because he had earlier commissioned him to design and build the entire campus of Florida Southern College. Coincidentally, the school does not offer a degree in architecture but is actively trying to restore and preserve some of the aging buildings.

In May of 2006, I received a call from Lori Twietmeyer, then Art Director at HOME Fort Lauderdale Magazine. The project was to photograph a scale model of a home Frank Lloyd Wright had designed. It was the model of the Spivey home.

Really? You want me to photograph a Frank Lloyd Wright design?
Yes, I want the job!

I remember first seeing the scale model and wondering how I would duplicate the look of the sun. As I looked at it under the flourescent light of HOME's office, it became clear that this wasn't going to be as easy as I had planned. I could easily set up a single light with some bounce to fill in some shadow but I still thought it would just look like an aerial view of a scale model. Not interesting.

I decided the model needed some life. Enlisting the help of Lori and the publisher of the magazine, we carefully carried the model (about the size of a small dinner table) up onto the roof and into the sun itself. Since I needed a clear view of the sky without obstructions, the resulting image was shot from the top of 2 stacked tables and a tall ladder. I also decided to utilize a very selective focus on just the house, which I think adds to the look of it being 'real'.

The Fort Lauderdale Historical Society recently contacted me about an upcoming exhibition of Frank Lloyd Wright and his Florida connections. They wanted to use the image for promoting the event. I gladly sold them the usage rights and I'm honored to have my own small connection to the great architect. Opening night is February 6, 2009.

1 comment:

  1. jeff,
    22 inches of snow on the ground here. you could photograph a bedsheet & it would be a fair representation of michiga,

    nice blog, not only are the photos great, so is the writing.
    ed markowski