• MABPhillips Photography

Lodge In – Tales from a Hotel in Quarantine Part 2

Tales from a Hotel in Quarantine

I started feeling the urge to shoot again as I hung my washing out to dry. The mundanity of the task was the impetus to finally get off my arse. This is alluded to by the content of the photo below - unfortunate peg has fallen from the line and is lain-half-submerged in a puddle below.

The peg is weathered, beaten and broken, like all the pegs: skeletons strewn across the roof. This depiction of abandonment is in keeping with the ethos of abandonment and isolation I really wished to articulate and when I found an angle where I could encompass the hotel as well, I thought, ‘perfect.’

I only thought to shoot outside thanks to my newest ethos, ‘always take my camera with me! For you never know what you’ll see.’ This is fairly easy for me with an A7 and 24mm prime, I am not advocating taking you DSLR everywhere!

After I got this shot and numerous other less successful shots I headed in, only the vaguest notion of what I wanted to do. This my process, trial and error – I work it out as I go. Cutting through the flat I grabbed my headphones, keys, put on creepy pasta, ‘No Name, No Number’ and made my way downstairs.

I quickly became distracted by the bar-come-lounge to the left of reception, namely the distended shadows of the late afternoon Sun strewn across the teal. The light reduced everything to silhouette, chocolate tones with the outline of trees visible through the windows.

After exhausting this aesthetic, I realised it was not this that I was really interested in and I abandoned the bar and lounge, moving instead towards the kitchen.

I went past the stairs and through the swinging kitchen door, a ‘wash your hands’ sign adorned to it, and on the left-hand side there I found a standing lamp; a veritable lighthouse - its warm yellow glow cutting through the darkness.

This warmth juxtaposed everything else; the darkness, metal and white tiles. Within its luminary glow one could see how at odds it is with pre-pandemic norms, other than the lamp itself, it showed fridges empty and ajar.

It was during these photos I finished my first story and I was a couple of minutes into the next, "I Took a Job on a Fishing Boat. We Caught a Mermaid.” It was getting particularly tense as walked past the lights influence.

On the way to the washroom, I turned and I decided to shoot the same scene again from an alternative perspective for the following reasons:

1) From this perspective one understands scale.

2) The shot is framed thanks to serving aperture

3) There are two different types of light – synthetic and natural.

Of the two photos, I decided that this one is more effective for the fact it is more explicit in depiction of the habitat and its use of scale reduces the lamp to comparative insignificance and made me feel similar.

I was doing this next to the Orwellian dishwasher featured in the first post, surrounded by cleaning implements standard in a working kitchen. By now, the mermaid had been pulled from the sea, locked in a specifically made tank, and all the crew were being promised a bonus; the main character, a student trying to pay student debt, was in suspicious of the captains intention and concerned for the beautiful humanoid, tailed him to a warehouse.

I then turned to retake the shot of the dishwasher and the washroom. Of all the shots I had taken previously this was the one which I needed to take again. I used the leading lines of the sink and dishwasher to direct ones to the light source and the iridescent, glowing, yellow tub. I noticed now that the colour yellow was a theme throughout the previous 3 photos and conveniently provided continuity between the previous three photos, something which translates very well when making photobooks/zines, E-books.

After reviewing the little screen on the back of my camera, I felt I had done a good enough job. My story had descended into a graphic depiction of cannibalism and I was thoroughly over the darkness, craving scrambled eggs with avocados on toast.

I put the lens caps on and called it a day, starting the ‘long’ walk upstairs, to the sound of enthusiastic rendition of a mermaid’s revenge.

Thank you for taking the time to read to my account of living in a hotel and I look forward to having you round again.

Bye for now. Stay safe. Matt.

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