One of the most exciting photowalks of this year’s Out of Chicago Photo Conference (OOC) was to the Rookery. Notoriously off-limits in terms of photography, at least the beloved staircase. OOC was given permission to lead photowalks in the building, including full access to the staircase!
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation leads tours on weekdays and you can get access up to the 3rd floor of the staircase, which is great but quite limiting with a tour group and the rush from one area of the building to another. However, for the conference we were allowed up to the 9th floor!
I always find it interesting to photograph staircases from both the top and the bottom. Oftentimes they can feel very different. The oriel staircase in the Rookery is very ornate and because I was photographing with only my telephoto, 70-300mm, I was a bit limited. However, there are slight variations. From the bottom looking up you see more of the ornate detailing in the ironwork on the undersides of the stairs and railings. The light is also interacting with the structure in a more dramatic way, creating a golden hue.
From the top looking down you lose the black ironwork from the undersides resulting in a more calming, minimalistic feeling to the images. The light filtering in from the atrium also has a cool hue, creating this nice contrast in cool vs. warm from the wood and bronzy metal of the railing.
I think this location was a hit with everyone at the conference. So glad I had the opportunity to lead a photowalk here. I hope they do this again next year; I think I’ll bring my wider lens next time 😉
As usual, I’ve photographed this location many times, you can see more takes on this staircase over here.