For 15 years from 2001 until 2016 I travelled and wrote about the interior design and functionality of hotels. I visited and photographed over 300 hotels in that time. My major focus then was design, and that will be an element here, but this time I will be writing more about the place and the experience. Invited on BBC Newsnight in a controversy over room sharing, I was questioned for over an hour as the Beeb tried to get me to say what they wanted. The resulting interview lasted about 20 seconds and had me labelled in the credits as the ’hotelologist’. I hope here I can live up to the name, but help with little more about places too.
Many of the ‘pictures’ don’t contain an image. In times gone by they would have been referred to as ‘field paintings’. The fact that most are made digitally doesn’t alter their power as visual surfaces, and the example I have had printed on aluminium at 2 feet square shows how clearly they work as stand-alone artworks.
I walk with a camera and collect images along coasts wherever I am. Occasionally they are of the quality of holiday snapshots which are collected after each trip and made into a memory book for continuing pleasure, sometimes they make stories, but often they are collected for their own sake. I look for the things that have fascinated me in making paintings – colour balance and contrasts, symmetry and asymmetry.
It’s a wonderful town, we all know that. My first visit, as a young artist and college lecturer, was on Laker’s Skytrain from Manchester, £99 return for the US independence bicentennial celebrations in 1976. I took hundreds of images of skyscrapers and made my money back with a mini lecture tour of groups in Lancashire showing the slides. Just recently I discovered I wasn’t the first of my family circle to visit the city nor to collect images of it.
Just 16 houses around a Saxon church. Over thousand years of history seeming to slumber in the summer sun. England past and present. The pigeons cooed; the crows cawed. Sometimes time seems almost to stand still.
Close encounters with elephant, lions, hyenas, cheetahs and rhino amongst the ‘big five’ beasts, elephant shrew, lion ant and others in the ‘little five’ have all been enjoyed in touring Southern Africa. It has been at its heart a search for beauty and wilderness, gripping my artist’ soul. The last wildernesses lie in these lands of the San people, the earliest populated areas, birthplace of homo sapiens, with rock painting tens of thousands of years old. Africa has captured the heart of many, addicted others. I too am hooked.
Place: Kasbah Angour, Tahanaout, Nr. Marrakech, Morocco Type: 4-star Hotel Operator: Owner and Creator Paul Foulsham Web: www.Kasbahangour.com Date of Visit: March 2019 A man with a dream – no, a Yorkshireman with a dream. A geologist working for oil companies buys a...