Pedro Guerrero: The Serendipitous Photographer

by Lynne Rostochil

A collection of Guerrero's Wright photographs is on permanent exhibition at Monona Terrace.  (Credit: Kaneji Domoto)

Architectural photographer and Frank Lloyd Wright confidante, Pedro Guerrero, died yesterday at the age of 95 after a short illness.

When he randomly showed up at Wright’s Taliesen West in December 1939 looking for work, recent art school graduate Guerrero had no idea that he was about to embark on a six decade career photographing some of the country’s best architecture and meeting many fascinating people in the process.  In need of a photographer because the previous one had just quit due to “difficulty with women,” Wright hired 22-year-old Guerrero on the spot, even though the young photographer told Wright that he “had a lot to learn.”  It was a serendipitous moment, one that changed Guerrero’s life forever.

Over the next 20 years, Guerrero photographed Wright’s life and buildings in great detail, and the two became very close, despite their 50-year age difference.  The photographer also worked with the likes of Alexander Calder, John Huston, Marcel Breuer, and Louise Nevelson and continued to take photos well into old age.

In his later life, Guerrero’s photography became recognized throughout the world, and he travelled all over the place for gallery openings of his work and lectures, including making a stop here in OKC at the Wright-inspired Quail Creek Country Club a few years ago.  (Several of Guerrero’s prints of Wright and his work are prominently displayed throughout the upper level of the country club.)

If you’d like to learn more about Guerrero and see portions of his incredible body of work, check out these two profusely illustrated books he wrote about his career: Picturing Wright and Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey with Frank Lloyd Wright, Alexander Calder, and Louise Nevelson.