HOTELS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE A PLACE OF RELAXATION AND LUXURY, BUT THAT ISN'T ALWAYS THE CASE. SOMETIMES HOUSEKEEPING DECIDES TO RIFLE THROUGH YOUR UNDERWEAR DRAWER, YOUR NEIGHBORS HAVE LOUD SEX AND YOUR BED LINEN HAS UNIDENTIFIABLE SPOTS THAT MAKES YOU WONDER: WHAT HAS BEEN GOING ON IN THIS PLACE BEFORE. QUESTIONS YOU SOMETIMES SHOULDN’T ASK YOURSELF.
The question of what goes on, or has been going on, behind the closed doors of hotel rooms is for many – ironically – the cause for sleepless nights. No wonder hotels often play significant roles in the most creepy horror movies. Think Psycho or Vacancy. And who was able to watch The Shining all alone at home? Some hotels try to reassure by not offering a room 13 or even a 13th floor, but instead of taking away the sensation of horrific situations that might or might nor have taken place it only enhances the anticipation.
Michael Craft has two passions that he has been able to mix seamlessly. First there is his love for photography, which awakened in him at very young age. He first got fascinated with old black & white photographs that opened w whole different universe for him, no matter whether they were personal family pictures or glamorous Hollywood portraits. Michael’s other fascination is with horror movies. Especially the classics. And so it is no surprise that his photography is inspired by both glamour and horror. Michael loves the idea of coming up with themes and building his portfolio around them. And with examples such as George Hurrell, Ruth Harriet Louise, Herb Ritts, David LaChapelle, Mike Ruiz, Justin Monroe he definitely is in good company.
“As always I become inspired to shoot a photo series, when American Horror Story announces their new series theme,” Michael says. “So when they announced Hotel as their new theme, it gave me so many images of gruesome things that could go behind the doors of hotel rooms.” For some weird and coincidental reason, one of Michael’s neighbors put a vintage Hotel sign out to get picked up by the garbage. For Michael a sign he was on to something. With that Hotel sign as a prop for some of his portraits, and the unlimited ideas he could get from just digging into his rich memories of seeing so many horror movies, it didn’t take long for Michael Craft to come up with some – well – really creepy themes. “Three of the shots borrowed ideas from one my favorite "hotel" movies, The Shining and another shot borrows from another favorite of mine, Psycho,” Michael says. “The shot, "Dress(ed)To Kill", came about when the model I had scheduled to shoot with Matthew cancelled. He brought a dress and we came up with shooting him in the "Psycho" shower inspired theme and I had him play the two different characters.”
The Shining, based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel and starring Jack Nicholson, was of course also a great source of inspiration for Michael Craft and his group of willing models: “Chad came up with the idea of playing the twins for the "Twins Of Evil" shoot, based on The Shining twin girls. “Animal Instinct" and "All Work And No Play..." is also based on scenes from The Shining as well.” The horror lovers among you might recognize other themes used by Michael to create his series. The idea of the monster in the mattress for "Room 666" for example. Or the use of the vampire theme for "The Pick Up" and "Feast". "Red" is based on a combination of Little Red Riding Hood and a childhood fear of monsters under the bed. Other compositions are simply really creepy ideas Michael thought would make for great disturbing images.
Though this kind of imagery is disturbing and gives you the creeps, they also work on your curiosity. It is like rubbernecking, the uncontrollable need to get a better look on terrible things that unfold in front of you. Much as you want to turn away, you simply can’t. Being very much aware of the irresistible attraction this kind of imagery has, Michael Craft customized his website especially for this purpose and offers a virtual art show of his Hotel photos. A trip through Hotel horror stories that might make you think twice before checking in in that rustic isolated old hotel you spotted planned to spend your weekend. Enjoy. –BM-
All Work And No Play... - Julius Rubio
Animal Instinct - Castor Bollocks & Eddie Wunderlich
Baggage - Pablo_In_Vogue
Blood Red (And Going Down) - Steven Gabriel
Cruising - Joe Putignano & Josh Babigan
Dress(ed) To Kill - Matthew Tiberi
Feast - Thomas Bradfield, Boy Timmy, Chris Jehnert, Mario Orellana
Heart-Breaker - Lessur Alejandro Lopez
Maintenance - Antonio Cedeno
Pet Friendly - Michael McGrail & Youyou
Red - Justin Lapinid-Rainion & Jeremy Easterling
Room 666 - Stephen Land
Room 666 - Stephen Land & Noel Pena
Room Service - Bryan Feiss & JuanFer De la Torre
The Pick Up - Jordano Sanchez & Daniel Anthony Hidalgo
Twins Of Evil - Chad Sapp
MICHAEL CRAFT | BEAUTIFULMAG