Hotel Mermaid Club is a book of still life photographs drawing its focus on the “self-made landscapes” that invisible personas create among their own culture and surroundings. Although portraiture in a traditional sense is not present, the book finds its humanity in its narrative, the spaces we occupy and objects so ordinary they escape our attention: a bus seat, a towel, a coat rack, a tomato.
Set within the mundane world, fleeting moments are given a second chance for consideration, a chance to appreciate simple habits, imperfections or accidental aesthetics. By finding the greatest joy in the humblest form, texture and detail. Daily life is interrupted on each page: clashing colours, primary forms and tender composition cohabit within the pages of Hotel Mermaid Club.
This book is an object of objects, a book of scenes that you too have seen. In its finished form it is a modest creation, capturing cultural encounters during a series of international journeys over the last 7 years from across 8 countries.
“I approach photography free of concepts, capturing my surroundings instinctively. I allow a narrative to develop through ‘self-made landscapes’ – never planned, never constructed, no scene altered, everything merely as is, harvested and collected as it were a cabinet of curiosity. The photographs are born from a discovery of a place, stepping into the unknown.
Light guides the curation of the mundane and trivial, in order to achieve a collection of visions that deserve time for contemplation. My photographic process has sprung from unexpected journeys. Circumstances led me to travel extensively and while doing so I found my eye attracted to daily scenes: wandering with a compact camera, I naturally developed a new documentary approach which much differed from my early practice of dead-pan landscapes. It was without any expectations or notion of project that I recorded images ranging from anonymous figures, to domestic interiors and street debris. All to reveal the passage of time and circulation of people throughout the world.” - Chris Rhodes.