The Nature of Photography

Zu Frank Lloyd Wrights Konstruktion des Prairie Style mithilfe der publizierten Architekturfotografien Clarence A. Fuermanns

  • Johannes Krause (Autor/in)


American Landscape is a constant strand in Frank Lloyd Wrights early publications on his Prairie Style. According to Wright, the new, natural homes’ formal elements were deduced from the pictorial notion of the Great Plains. Thus, Wright could advertise his and the "New School of the Middle West's" architecture as truthful to the American Spirit. Its transatlantic impact on European modernism has been subject to numerous research. It becomes apparent that only by skillfully reinforcing these connotations through his publications of both words and images, photographical as well as hand drawn, Wright was able to maintain the natural character of his Prairie Houses. So readers of his 1911 Wasmuth volumes could assume the buildings were situated in an "open, wind-blown landscape" (Richard Neutra), although they actually stood on crowded lots in suburbs like Oak Park. Interestingly enough, these carefully constructed images became alive and lived through photography’s triumph of becoming the key medium of architectural representation. This article examines Wright's editorial strategies in preparation of his Ausgeführte Bauten (1911) and emphasizes his cooperation with Chicago photographer Clarence Albert Fuermann. The photographs of Avery Coonley House can be used as an example of how they both expanded the boundaries of 1900's professional photography. In close reading of Wright's early writings and in recourse to his transcendentalist ardor it is possible to introduce/propose a concept of 'organic photography' as a comprehension of the intrinsic nature of photography. As it turns out, Wright's published photographs represent much more than neutral, factual documents of architectural quality: they have been subtly used to emotionally address and visually guide the beholder towards a carefully constructed, persuading image of Prairie Style architecture.