Last April I started taking photographs of hotel corridors, sometimes posting them on social media sites. I quickly got tired of people responding with references to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, a film I used to like, but which has now been overexamined, overexposed and fetishised to the extent that I’m not sure I ever need to watch it again. I wish people would move on and fetishise some other films. Here’s a picture of it:
But it’s far from being the only movie featuring a hotel corridor, and I rather resent the way everyone now automatically associates picture of a corridors with Kubrick’s film, not least because the film’s idea of the corridor is quite limited. OK, that’s enough The Shining. Please let’s not mention it again. Here are some other, more interesting movie corridors:
And here are some of the corridors I photographed, mostly with my iPad, often while returning to the hotel after several beers, and frequently with light levels so low I would have to prop myself up against the wall, which must have made me look drunker than I was to any other hotel guests who happened to pass.
I prefer big, anonymous chain hotels to the small, boutique variety. The first corridor I photographed was in the Hotel Ibis Amsterdam Centre, and I did it only by accident, being initially more interested in the reflections in the windows overlooking the railway station.
But then I pointed my camera in the opposite direction.
Anything could happen. And I think that’s why I like hotel corridors. They’re like film sets, waiting for the action to take place. They’re all the same, and yet different. They’re decorated so blandly they cease to be bland, and start being interesting. They’re ominous, and yet optimistic; you have no way of knowing whether the doors will lead to a dream, or a nightmare, or a farce. These corridors are like the Wood Between the Worlds in C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew – collections of portals to different realities, each with its own story and set of characters.
If I wanted to be pretentious, I would say they were metaphors.
Here we go, then. Every picture tells a story.
You may also be interested in:
YOU CAN CHECK OUT ANY TIME YOU LIKE, BUT YOU CAN NEVER LEAVE: an interesting piece on hotels in the movies, by Jonathan Bygraves