Light in Hotel Rooms

Light in Hotel Rooms

Just like Woody Allen, I am too romantic about Manhattan as I'm about many things, sometimes utterly unromantic. Spending time in hotels, airports and train stations is a category in itself. Maybe it’s the feeling of temporariness or the possibility of ephemeral yet intense human connections that attracts me.


I believe that, for those of us who share some kind of weird affinity towards bland “non-spaces” and their peculiar intimacy, these spaces become subjects of nostalgia. A sort of old new quality in our cosy and all-embracing world of Airbnb.

When I travel I don’t want to feel at home. I don’t want to use someone else’s cup or see my face in their mirror. I crave for the feeling of hotel rooms; the restlessness, inconvenience. Tiny bottles of shampoo, bottles from hotel minibars and walking in a labyrinth of quiet corridors. The endless waiting for the elevator. The (un)familiar views. The light.

One summer many years ago, I used to work as a cleaner in a large hotel in Prague. I still remember the feeling of entering a room after the guests checked out. I had never seen them, but there I was, looking at what they left behind. I often just stood still in the door and watched those scenes for a while before I cleaned it all up, erased all those traces and shut the door behind what was a crisp and clean room again. An anonymous space.

The light in most hotel rooms is somehow different. And often, it is the only element that adds some character to the otherwise indifferent space. This is what creates “the Edward Hopper” atmosphere - the light and the bare life going on underneath it.

Hotel rooms can be really sexy and exciting, too. But unlike private rooms, they seem to forget things that happened inside them. We always leave some traces behind, even if it’s just in the form of fine residue of our own stories and intentions. I believe that this is exactly what adds to the atmosphere of these spaces. Hotel rooms are like blank canvases that can be written on, over and over again. All those stories, no matter how tragical, romantic, uninteresting or funny, will disappear under a new set of crisp fresh sheets again.

On the photograph: A hotel room in Paris, on a late autumn afternoon in October 2010