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Capturing Taliesin’s Essence: An Interview with Lynn Hill

Elizabeth Maske January 19th, 2024
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The terrace off of Frank Lloyd Wright's bedroom. Photo: Lynn Hill 2023

With an open mind to all that awaited him at Wright’s Wisconsin estate, Lynn Hill, a retired emergency medicine practitioner, embarked on the 7-hour drive from Kansas City to Spring Green for Taliesin Preservation’s weekend photography workshop.

“I’ve always been interested in photography,” Lynn tells me. “I’ve done a few other photo trips with other teachers. And when I saw the article in the New York Times in March about the baking workshop, I went online and saw there was a photography workshop and signed up the same day.” 

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The terrace off of the loggia at Taliesin. Photo: Lynn Hill 2023

His prior experience leaned towards landscape and wildlife photography, so architectural photography was a fresh endeavor. The intermediate class, led by Andrew Pielage, a master in capturing Wright’s organic creations, offered a fully immersive opportunity for this first-time visitor.

The demand for the workshop was no less than staggering, with spots filling up overnight. Lynn notes that each participant in the weekend cohort harbored their own tale of enrollment. “Most of the people in my group of ten that were there for the photography weekend had the same experience. They saw it, signed up, and then it was gone very soon after.”

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Romeo and Juliet Windmill. Photo: Lynn Hill 2023

While a sense of camaraderie was fostered by group activities, Lynn valued the opportunities for solitary exploration—the chance to simply wander the sprawling grounds. He highlights,”the beauty of the two nights there [was] staying on campus and really having access to all of the 800 acres or so and all of the buildings.”

One of the most memorable moments of Lynn’s weekend was photographing the Romeo and Juliet Windmill. “Romeo and Juliet Windmill’s got to be a key interest of everybody that comes there to take pictures. That was interesting and beautiful and the light was good for it,” he marvels.“I enjoyed seeing that.”

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Early morning corn fog on the Taliesin property. Photo: Lynn Hill 2023

Lynn refers keenly to what the locals refer to as the ‘corn fog’ and the allure of capturing its ethereal morning beauty. Early days were routine for the participants, as capturing the soft glow of sunrise was paramount. “Taking photos, you want to be there for sunrise and sunset,” Lynn explains. “And sunrise means before sunrise, so yeah. We started at 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning and Sunday morning, and I was up long before that.”

During his stay, Lynn resided in the Hillwing apartment, providing him with proximity to the heart of the estate. “I stayed in Frank Lloyd Wright’s daughter Iovanna’s room, the room that she stayed in in her later years…the Hillwing… and it was great. Better than expected. It was nice to be close in on the property, and it was nice to have access to things [at] different times of day and the beautiful night sky.”

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Taliesin aglow at night. Photo: Lynn Hill 2023

Lynn’s photography skills saw improvement with new post-processing techniques and insights into architectural photography. “I learned some tricks in Lightroom that I didn’t know. So that was helpful,” he adds. 

Summing up his experience, Lynn doesn’t hesitate, “Wonderful. Good food. Good access. Interesting subjects to photograph. Always interesting people.”

With a passion for photography punctuated by various destination workshops, Lynn endorses the Taliesin weekend. “I would recommend it highly,” he states. “I would recommend Andrew Pielage highly. He was very patient and very knowledgeable about the Taliesin estate and Frank Lloyd Wright in general, and I would think most anybody who liked taking pictures would enjoy that weekend.”