Frank Lloyd Wright (100 Films in 2011)

by Jamie Sanford on July 11, 2011

31. Frank Lloyd Wright

I don’t think I’ve hidden my love for nearly all things Frank Lloyd Wright.  I don’t know when I first became enamored with the man and his designs, but it became more evident after a trip that my husband and I took in May 2009.  We took a short trip out to Western Pennsylvania, where in a single day we toured 2 homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright—Kentuck Knob, also known as the Hagan House, and Fallingwater, probably the most famous of the private homes designed by Mr. Wright.

Frank Lloyd Wright, signed tile 2.This is a photo I made of the tile in the wall at the front door of Kentuck Knob, “signed” by Mr. Wright himself.

Anyway, back to the film.  This is a 2 hour and 40 minute documentary chronicling the life and work of FLW, from his young years with a mother giving him building blocks and deciding that her toddler would be a famous architect, to his scandalous love life, to his times of success and failure in his career, to his eventual recognition and death.  In addition to being an absolutely brilliant designer, he lead an interesting life.  Some of his choices were unfortunate, particularly for his first wife Kitty and their children, but it makes for an fascinating tale.

This is the Larkin building, one of FLW’s first major commissions.

I would highly recommend this Frank Lloyd Wright documentary to anyone with an interest in architecture or just in an interesting story.  FLW had much more going on in his life than drawing homes and buildings, and this film explores all of the happiness and tragedy that befell Mr. Wright during his lifetime.

Frank Lloyd Wright is available on DVD from Amazon.

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My Top 5 Posts.

by Jamie Sanford on October 22, 2010


Photo by Svenwerk on Flickr. Image is clickable.

I’ve never actually done one of these, but I figured why not.  I am slightly disappointed that over time, the most popular posts have been ones that I never really expected to perform well, but isn’t that always the way?

Product Review: Aura Paint by Benjamin Moore

Cosmopolitan magazine: good marketers, or an audience full of sheep?

Flickr Stats: Better, But Still Room for Improvement

Photo: Brahma Shrine at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater has a terrible photo policy.

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Image credit, Byflickr.

2021 update: Shockingly, this policy is the same as it was in 2009! A search for #fallingwater on Instagram generates over 95,000 results, so clearly no one is listening. I’m leaving the original post here as it was in 2009, as my thoughts are still the same given the unchanged policy. Even some clarity on personal photo use would be beneficial to add. I was flabberghasted in 2009 and am even more so in 2021.

I cannot post a photo of Fallingwater here, because sharing photos of this stunning landmark is prohibited by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, who owns the house, runs the tours, etc.

Last week my husband and I took a short trip to western Pennsylvania. What spurned the trip was the opportunity to see Fallingwater, a famous home designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Fallingwater is considered by some to be the greatest work of FLW’s career. The son of the family that commissioned the house donated the property to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy so that the house could be shared with the public as a work of art. It is beautifully kept and is very open, you don’t see many roped off areas and almost the entire house is shown on the standard tour we took while we were there.

The issue I have with this situation is Fallingwater’s photo policy. If you take the standard tour, you cannot photograph anything inside of the house. If you take a more in-depth tour, you are free to photograph anything, anywhere in the house. Since I was unable to get spots for us on the in-depth tour, we enjoyed the standard tour and simply photographed the outside of the house and the grounds, including the beautiful classic view of the house with the waterfalls flowing underneath.

These pictures, however, are not supposed to go anywhere beyond your camera and perhaps your hard drive. When you arrive at Fallingwater, you are given a handout which states:

Through purchase of an admission ticket to Fallingwater, visitors agree that photographs, paintings and sketches of Fallingwater are not to be offered for sale or exploited for any commercial purpose or in any way made available for any third-party use. All photographs, paintings and sketches generated during your visit are for personal use only, and cannot be sold, published or posted on a website without permission of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Original works may be exhibited, but reproductions or prints may not be produced. This includes, but is not limited to all photographs, paintings, sketches and drawings generated during your visit.

Part 1 is not a problem for me. I will not sell my photos.

Part 2 is ridiculous. All photographs may not be posted on a website? It is 2009, there are millions of people posting their photos to photo-sharing sites every day, in order to share those images with family and friends all over the world. Is this policy just terribly outdated?

Many people are ignoring this rule; there are thousands of search results on Flickr for Fallingwater. 286 Flickr search results are available for use via Creative Commons. (My photos of Fallingwater are on Flickr, but I decided to be nice and NOT offer them up to those searching for images with a Creative Commons license. I also put a message about the photo policy in the description of each image.)

Part 3 is also very misleading. Original works may be exhibited, but reproductions or prints may not be produced? I imagine I would need to create a print to be able to exhibit it. In addition, there is no clarification here about personal photos. Are they really trying to tell me that I can’t have a print made of a photo I took on my vacation that I might like to frame and hang up in my living room? Obviously someone shooting with film will have prints made, what’s the situation there?

I am a fan of Fallingwater on Facebook. I reviewed the fan page there and I cannot tell who is running it, if it is official or run by a Fallingwater enthusiast. There are photos of the house on the Facebook page, so if they are not official, they too are breaking the photo policy. In addition, the fact that there are so many photos of the house up on Flickr has me thinking that there simply isn’t anyone enforcing this policy online.

Why aren’t they taking full advantage of the exposure opportunities that come from people posting their photos and sharing them online with others, therefore generating more interest in the house and potentially other FLW creations? If the Facebook fan page is official, ask users to share their stories of visiting and their photos from the trip there. It is a beautiful place to visit and I’m sure that there are many people who don’t immediately default to wanting to take a trip to see an architectural achievement. Exposure will only increase interest!

So my message is to the powers-that-be over at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Review this policy and make it clearer to the end users. Having a semi-threatening policy about photo sharing isn’t going to win you much repeat business from those with the potential to visit again, especially those who enjoy photography. Take a look at the relaxed photo policy for the upcoming Nine Inch Nails tour. Look at the list of yes or no questions, clearly spelled out, making it very easy for the end user to determine exactly what is acceptable and what is not.

Readers: any thoughts on this or ideas for how this situation could be improved? What sort of photo policy would you put in place for a location such as Fallingwater?

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