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Book Review: Wright Panorama

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jan 04, 2012 02:51 AM
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by Eric last modified Jan 28, 2011

Thomas R. Schiff has accomplished something remarkable. He's taken the concept of photographing the architectural work of Frank Lloyd Wright and put a new "spin" on it. A 360 degree spin, that is. Wright Panorama, a new book recently produced in collaboration with The Westcott House Foundation and Orange Frazer Press, contains over 75 of Schiff's engaging and sometimes startling photos and is not you're average "Wright photo book." Read more after the jump... At...




 

 

Panorama Wright 1 Thomas R. Schiff has accomplished something remarkable. He's taken the concept of photographing the architectural work of Frank Lloyd Wright and put a new "spin" on it. A 360 degree spin, that is. Wright Panorama, a new book recently produced in collaboration with The Westcott House Foundation and Orange Frazer Press, contains over 75 of Schiff's engaging and sometimes startling photos and is not you're average "Wright photo book." Read more after the jump...

Panorama Wright 2

At roughly 16.25" x 9.5" (and almost 32.5" wide when open!) this book is as expansive in size as the inside photos make Wright's buildings appear. It makes sense, since a larger-than-life canvas is needed to effectively exhibit Thomas's photos. As Wright's grandson, architect Eric Lloyd Wright points out in his foreword: "[Schiff's] camera opens up the interior spaces and reveals the open plan of these houses. No standard photo can capture this revelation of space." And open up the spaces they do.

Buildings such as Fallingwater, the Guggenheim, Robie House, Beth Sholom Synagogue, the Zimmerman House, Rosenbaum House, Price Tower, Westcott House and many, many more are presented in ways that are both strikingly new, yet eerily familiar at the same time. Multiple views of the same space are cunningly condensed by photographic effect, so that one can experience Wright's art in a completely new way.

The photos are grouped into four sections honoring the elements Wright purposely incorporated into his architecture: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Accompanying each elemental section are insightful essays on each topic, written by such Wright scholars as Margo Stipe, Scott W. Perkins, Marta Wojcik and Cara Armstrong. The essays help provide context and a window into Wright's ideas and approach for the buildings depicted.

Here are examples of some of the buildings and images to be discovered in this book:

Panorama Wright 3

Panorama Wright 4

Panorama Wright 5

Panorama Wright 6

Panorama Wright 7

Panorama Wright 8

I thoroughly enjoyed reading and looking through this book. I must admit that there are times when the panorama effect adds a surreal "Alice in Wonderland" overtone to some of the images that can be a little off-putting. However, the point of Wright's work was (and is) to challenge the accepted notions of what architecture could be. In much the same way, Schiff's photographs force us out of our comfort zone of what we accept from architectural photography and challenge us to see and think in new ways.

I highly recommend picking up a copy of Wright Panorama for yourself and spending some time exploring these familiar spaces in a unique and challenging new way. You can feel extra good about purchasing this book, since 100% of the proceeds will support Frank Lloyd Wright public sites and their educational missions. Get your copy here.

All images depicted are copyright Thomas R. Schiff


 

 

 
 
 

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