By Michelle Chaplow
As a photographer I approach each hotel in a very different way, you can´t carry out a photo shoot for a luxury contemporary city hotel in the same was as a small boutique hotel or a spa resort, every property is unique.
In this blog post, I want to talk about the importance of photography for Riads.
A riad is a traditional Moorish private home with a central patio; many of these have now been converted into small hotels. If the riad La Maison Blanche was outside of Morocco, we would probably refer to it as a Boutique hotel.
Morocco is well-known as a wonderfully photogenic country, with its richly coloured spices, and deep red and green tones.
La Maison Blanche. Location: the Kasbah, Tangiers
Our crew made three visits to the hotel in the Moroccan port city of Tangiers to complete the photo shoot. Location, location, location: the riad is located at the highest point of the old fortified city or Kasbah, which stretches up the hill overlooking the sea.
La Maison Blanche is just a few metres from the medieval entrance gate and offers spectacular views over the Kasbah itself, the surrounding cityscape with church and mosque, and across to the sea, from the roof terrace. As we have said before the location is as important as the hotel
Literally on the doorstep of the hotel are the narrow, winding streets of the Kasbah, just waiting to be explored.
The hotel was also used as a place for the stars of the latest James Bond movie, Spectre, to be prepared for their scenes during the shoot – a restful retreat for 007 Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux from the rigours of movie-making in a medieval Moorish fort.
We have photographed the riad hotel on numerous occasions since its opening in September 2013, and as a continuing project you can see how it has evolved.
Visiting with the same photographic crew offers considerable advantages
1. The crew are familiar with the hotel.
2. The team know where the light falls at certain times of the day.
3. They have already met with the staff, so there’s a sense of trust and familiarity.
Such prior knowledge of the hotel’s layout saves time, as the crew know where the plugs are in specific rooms for lighting; into which rooms the light enters in the morning, and into which in the afternoon.
Most importantly, we can ensure that all photos maintain the same look, feel and sense of place, essential for any ongoing photographic project.
In the case of Maison Blanche in Tangiers, most of the furniture was made by local artisans and craftsmen, as well as the tiles – the photo shown below not only captures the exotic Moroccan aromas, it also illustrates skilled craftsmanship.
Some hotel imagery is so inconsistent in style that it looks like 20 different photographers have passed by, each one leaving an image. At Maison Blanche, this will not happen. The collection of photos being built up over the years is a harmonious one.
We look forward to photographing the hotel for many years to come. There are rumours that they may even extend the property, such has been its success during its first years.
There are millions of hotels around the world, each one special in its own way. As a photographer, one needs to focus on what makes an establishment different to all the rest, and unique in its own way, capturing the uniqueness and very essence
If you would like to see more photos capture for a taste of an authentic, historic and exquisitely decorated riad hotel, with French sophistication and Moroccan warmth, take a look at our page on La Maison Blanche