The Road to Taliesin West

The Road to Taliesin West

It was an honor to have had the privilege recently to join a group of exceptionally talented photographers led by architectural photographer Andrew Pielage and the team at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to photograph Taliesin West, a UNESCO World Heritage site, over three days of intensive architectural photography workshops.

This dash cam video was filmed while driving along the road leading from Frank Lloyd Wright onto the road up to the main compound of Taliesin West, which is located on more than 500 acres of pristine Sonoran Desert in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Taliesin West was 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

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

Camelback Mountain from Taliesin West



The view of Camelback Mountain from Taliesin West. Scottsdale, Arizona

In the 1940s, when Frank Lloyd Wright learned that power lines were going to be built on the edge of Taliesin West, interrupting the view across the valley towards Camelback Mountain, he started a fight to stop the construction, demanding they be buried underground. When his protests, including letters to President Harry S. Truman, failed to produce the results Wright wanted, he threatened to relocate to Tucson.

Of course, he never did make the move, but he relocated the entrance of Taliesin West towards the rear of the main building.