I didn't really think very much about making the two images above - in fact not thinking was my goal. I was stuck in a place I didn't really want to be, with people who (for good reason) didn't really want to be working with me. We worked that out, and the business part of my trip eventually was successful. It didn't feel like that would be a likely outcome at the time though...and I wanted to leave. By this I mean I really wanted to leave. So, I did leave early, and as an afterthought I posted these photos on Instagram.
In the following months I posted a ton of similar photos on Instagram. I used the hashtag #hotelroomblues and tagged them all. Friends of mine who also travel have used the same hashtag...which is amazing. Its lucky I did upload these photos as I don't tend to keep my iPhone shots, I will explain why. Oh yeah, most of the images in this post are made with Hipstamatic - you'll notice the crappy borders etc.
After I while, I began to really enjoy making these iPhone images - the process took me away from work for a while (after all, business travel is a bit shit). I began to notice things about hotel rooms I hadn't before. One of the main things I began to notice was they are all effectively the same. Hotel rooms are designed to make you feel at home...only I don't have a phone in the toilet! I find this attempt at comfort has the opposite effect on me; for the duration of my stay the room is not somewhere I retreat too, as I would a home, it's somewhere I escape from.
These photos were garnering a few likes and nice comments...always a good thing. That led me to believe there might be something more to the project. Perhaps an opportunity to collaborate (which I did for a while with Jana and Shelly - take a look here).
It was in The Norfolk Kitchen, that hive of artistic excellence in market town, that I sat down with my friend Jim for a cup of tea (and probably some apple pie). As well as being an incredible photographer, Jim offers his advice generously and his encouragement willingly. Jim pointed me towards the work of Diane Keaton. Yes, that Diane Keaton! If you don't know Diane's book reservations (as I didn't) then now is the time to check it out. With Jim's encouragement ringing in my ears, I decided to take a new approach, and made photos with a better digital camera.
Perhaps it was the crap "Art" I found in my hotel room on the subsequent trips, but this stage of the project (I'm calling it that now) did not go well. I knew I wanted to create something rather than uploading throw-away photos to Instagram. I struggled though; the results just seemed forced and sterile. I'm not going to blame digital for this, but rather the pressure I was putting myself under to instantly make amazing work. This carried on for a little while and I made lots of images, most of which I found really boring. Eventually I forced myself to reconsider my approach and to try and go back to basics.
This, to me, meant film, and a Fuji GF670...and that is where I've been for the last year or so. I've built up a stock of images made on film...images that I am really pleased with. I'm not going to show you them yet, just tease you that they are on their way. The challenge is that I am not sure how I want to release them into the world. I am thinking something printed...and that is something I'll need to work on.
So, I need to leave with a couple of final thoughts...firstly, to encourage you all to backup your photos even if they seem inconsequential at the time. I've had to go back through Instagram and Tumblr to get the old photos and the resolution is purely crappy. The second thought is to thank all who looked at these initial images, left comments, and offered encouragement. I really think I have something special coming and you're time and thoughts have been really helpful to me.