“Joseph Irwin Miller fascinates me. Here is an individual who single-handedly shaped the architectural landscape of his entire hometown of Columbus, Indiana to fit his aesthetic interests. He had the resources to commission world-renowned architects to design not only his home but an abundance of public buildings. To date there have been over 70 significant buildings constructed in a town with a population of only 44,000.
With family only 40 miles away in Indianapolis, a visit to the Miller House has been high on my list since it was opened to the public in 2011 (The Miller family donated the home and gardens to the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2009). Although the house has been photographed many times over the years (including by two of the greatest modernist photographers, Ezra Stoller and Balthazar Korab), I was excited to capture it through my own lens. My challenge was to capture unique views that I haven’t seen before. Luckily the home has many wonderful views! Designed by architect Eero Saarinen, with interiors by Alexander Girard and wonderful gardens by Dan Kiley, the home is an exceptional showcase of Mid-Century masters.
For this photo essay I also had the opportunity to take a journey into the other places where Mr. Miller spent his days: his office (which hasn’t been photographed since a 1962 article in Progressive Architecture), the bank where he was chairman (it was the first glass-walled, open plan bank in the country) and his church (the last building built by architect Eero Saarinen). It was a very rewarding experience and I left with a greater appreciation of just how important good design is in our daily lives and how one person can have a dynamic influence on the built environment.”
– David Lauer