The Road to Taliesin West

The Road to Taliesin West

I had the privilege recently to join a group of exceptionally talented photographers and photograph Taliesin West, a UNESCO World Heritage site, a few weeks ago. This is the view from my car’s dash cam that takes you on the road through the pristine Sonoran Desert up to the entrance to Taliesin West.

Taliesin West, which is located on more than 500 acres of pristine Sonoran Desert in Scottsdale, Arizona was the winter home and studio of legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and is undoubtedly a sacred space in too many ways to describe, especially if you’ve never visited before.

Architecture, Arizona, © 2000 - 2019 Daniel R. Stiel. All Rights Reserved., Photography

Pedro E. Guerrero’s baby saguaro all grown-up.

While watching the PBS American Masters episode on the life, work and career of acclaimed photographer Pedro E. Guerrero, a photograph he created caught my eye.

When Pedro E. Guerrero photographed this stretch of the road leading to Taliesin West, this tall saguaro cactus was only two feet tall.

Guerrero’s photograph of Taliesin West, likely taken in the 1930s or 40s from the dirt road leading up to Taliesin West, showed a small saguaro cactus about two feet tall in the foreground along side the road.

My reaction was, “I think I have photos of that same cactus taken on my last visit to Taliesin West.”  Sure enough, I did.

What was just a two foot cactus in Guerrero’s photograph had grown to be a towering giant well over 20 feet tall with seven “arms” extending to the skies.  Even the three rocks shown in his original photo were still there, albeit the road has since been paved.

Another view of Guerrero’s saguaro looking southeast