James Welling's The Glass House

The Photographer's Impressionistic View of Philip Johnson's Architectural Wonder

From 2006 to 2009, LA-based photographer James Welling made several trips to Philip Johnson’s Connecticut retreat, to capture the modern marvel in all aspects and seasons. The series of photos are collected in Welling's forthcoming book The Glass House, which we preview in the exclusive images above. “It reminded me of my [architect] uncle’s house: It was nowhere near as grand, but had glass walls and looked out onto a little lake,” the Connecticut native says of his attraction to the structure, built in 1949 on a 47-acre plot of land just outside New Canaan. “Photographing there was resonant with my past, which is important—when you take a picture it’s about recollection,” he adds. Welling lent a dreamy effect to the images by shooting with filters, intentionally tinting the landscape: “It’s doubling or exaggerating the experience of being there,” he says. Evocative though the results may be, there were sensory elements of the site that eluded him. “The great thing about the Glass House that you can’t convey in photographs is it has a kind of smoky smell: 50 years of smoke-filled conversations between Johnson and his partner [the late contemporary art curator] David Whitney.”

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