Artist Statement

The HotelShots Series

by Ipedia

This is an explanatory essay that contains two major chunks:
1) an introduction to and overview of my HotelShots series
2) a bit of extra about me, and why I think nude self-portraits work the way they do

When I work, my intended canvas is always the mind of my audience – my audience, of course, includes myself.

I like to adhere as strongly as possible to a stream of consciousness, instinct-driven model in my creative process. Thus, the results are often new and fraught with unexplored meaning to myself as much as anyone else. The photos that I create in this way are merely the brushes I use to mix and move images, memory and thought like so much paint.

the artist: Ipedia

One might ask upon viewing this series: why these heroin-chic/soft-core-pornesque nudie shots in random hotel rooms around the globe? Because I feel self-portrait nude shots in random hotels with smutty and despairing undertones are a satisfying metaphor for people’s modern relationships with people, places and things (nouns generally). For me, they typify our ever-spreading “non-culture” and the isolation within our crowded cities. This metaphor rings powerfully for me, and I hope to share that resonance with others, and harmonize our resonating through this analysis.


They say you can’t take it with you, and there’s no real need to get too specific about what “it” is. Our relationships with all nouns eventually fade in one way or another. A hotel room is a prime metaphor for this: it’s a home you’re not meant to bond with.

Iconographically, the hotel spells sex, drugs, and instability. Hotels are where we go for our fleeting dislocated moments away from real homes, from real loves, and from our own possessions and customs. We go there to do business to get money, to have shelter while we escape on vacation, to have sex (if you went to the hotel for purposes of sex, the statistics are against the longevity of that thar relationship…) In all senses: to do something outside ourselves that is inherently temporary.

A hotel room is a relationship that’s intended to fail from the outset. You’re not supposed to live there you’re supposed to pass time there which is a by-product of something else you really want to be doing.

Hence, by capturing hotel rooms in a static medium (photos) – while in the content of those photos highlighting the hotel’s anonymity and instability – we’ve completed a metaphor for the contradiction that is life. We take the inherently temporary and make it permanent! That’s what life’s about.


I am of the opinion that we all seek out permanence in the ephemeral. We see to make permanent the ephemeral because we are ephemeral, and we wish we were not (feel free to disagree loudly).

My photos are static and permanent images. They capture things not meant to be captured or cherished – hotel towels, drunken nights, work trips, and isolation – and so stake their claim as significant experiences and moments, when otherwise they would simply be relegated to the periphery of my existence, time to be whiled away The hotel is where you recover from an experience and await the next one (or get laid... which is nice), but in my photos it is in fact the hotel that is the focus, and the relationship and affect that has on the person staying there. The experiences surrounding are all implied - left to your imagination and my memory.

There is an intentional contradiction between medium and message. At each point, something transient – the hotel room and its anonymous items, naked me, inebriation, sex, travel – is contrasted against something permanent: the photo itself; something permanent that’s created in an instant.


Love is the only thing that breaks the cycle of failure in life. Rather, I believe it is outside of experience, running parallel and above. Love is the only thing that doesn’t need to have a beginning or end. It is love which ties us to other nouns and ironically although the most ephemeral, it is the thing that creates the stability and meaning in our lives. A house stops being a structure, a dog just an animal, or a lover just a place you occasionally store your cock (or whose cock you occasionally house), once you start to love them, even a little tiny bit. Nice, huh?

My photos attempt the same thing: they attempt to make the hotel and the “in between time” that is spent there something more.

Things (or events), truly, can be more accurately measured by their impact on our souls than by observation of their physical manifestations. They are qualified, so to speak, by the picture that they paint on our minds. And thus, I measure my work not by its content or skill, but by the quality and depth of thought it inspires – be that in myself, or anyone else. Thinking about the photos makes a naked guy and a hotel into something more than just a naked guy in a hotel. Photos of a naked guy in a hotel juxtapose ideas of what is natural, eternal, and basically human, with what is artificial, temporary, and foreign. Thereby they ask us to look at ourselves, and the world we have built and question how well they fit together. We should ask ourselves: do we love what we are and what we’ve done in combination?

That’s basically the point of the series.


These aren’t just photos, they’re self-portraits. I conceive, set up, and take them alone on a timer in an empty room. No one has ever seen me take a shot in the series.

So what am I? Am I my body which you see on the screen? Am I my art? Am I my employment which brought me to this place where I took the pic? Am I my stuff, i.e., the miscellaneous bits around the room? Or my past? Or am I who people make me? Any people or just significant people? Am I 23 with a flat stomach and a full head of hair, or am I 60, fat and bald, incontinent, and reading this essay reflecting on the kooky crap photos I took 37 years prior? (Note: at time of posting to Bound Martyr, I’m a few weeks from turning 29, and starting to thin unpleasantly on top)

Why Me? Why Nudes?

I try to always keep balanced, centred, and unfettered. By balanced, I by no means mean stable, singular, or stagnant. My balance includes extremes, but balanced by other extremes. I play hard, and then I rest hard. I value my right and responsibility to myself to go out and dance myself into a coma, and I balance that by endeavouring to eat well, get good sleep, and have massages and quiet time on a regular basis. I keep my centre in me (or try at least), so that nothing and no one can dictate my destiny.

I’m representing myself in these photos. That is: explorer and interpreter, constantly shifting, but constantly reflecting. These are static photos of a reflexive man in motion. The contradictions I am trying to capture are concrete reflections – externalisations - of the intangible contradictions that I feel exist in me.

(Exposure and lack of personal identification)

Are you most “you” when you’re naked, or are you less “you” without your clothes? It’s an interesting question.

Uniform clothing and haircuts are applied to us when we enter highly structured and hierarchical organizations that attempt to present a common image internally and externally. The army, McDonalds, and in a more or less specified and controlled way, most corporations and clubs all either suggest or insist on some form of unification of dress.

Clothing (among other things):
· Identifies us as part of a social, political or professional sub-set of the population
· Protects us and facilitates special activities impossible without special clothing (skiboots for example fit much better in skis than say, bare feet, clogs or ballet slippers)


So much of our identity is carried in our clothing that you can actually read personality and lifestyle traits from a wardrobe. I personally have gone through various fashion incarnations, and delight in exploring new ones as a way to explore new aspects of myself, and especially, the different ways in which the rest of the world reacts to me dependant on my dress on a given day.

Nudity can sidestep this, or, more interestingly, could be seen as one of the various outfits that we wear. We are easily as familiar with a blue-grey business suit or a polyester uniform and plastic visor that screams “minimum wage!” as we are with our own skin.

Probably much more so.

Nudity is a step outside of roles. Stepping outside your role is always temporary. We are defined by our roles within a society, and our roles will invariably dictate our clothing. Even the self-determined bohemian is fulfilling a role, or else how could I refer to him as an archetype? Without clothing, in a hotel, without a context of a personalised home, it becomes difficult to find cultural allocation.

So, by defying easy allocation in our world, the nude invites consideration and analysis. We are fascinated by naked people in art I think, because we have to figure out who they are, as opposed to their costume giving it away. Thus nudity is a catalyst for the analysis, which is in turn key to the photos having an impact. Nudity makes the photos mean more because you question why they are nudes at all In questioning, you begin the processes of appreciation (can you tell I’m Jewish? I think it’s pretty obvious. And no, that wasn’t a circumcision joke).


There’s lots of stuff you can’t do naked. Try deep-fat-frying something in the nude, and you’ll suddenly see my point You can’t really go mountain biking either, cuz if you fall, even if you live, you’re going to wish you were dead.

Then there’s the things we won’t let ourselves do.

We have shame built-in. That delicious irrational terror of we have of having other people see our fat and warts and inadequate sex organs - whether we’re fat warty and inadequate or not - is a restrictive force. It cripples us, and takes away our strength and confidence. Often hotels are places where you stay when you don’t speak the local language, and you are left lacking confidence and power. There is a deep fear in this that fascinates me as a traveller and fan of art, linguistics, and semiotics. We’re naked without our stuff, our people, and our words, just like we’re naked without our clothes. Nudity in my photos is both powerlessness and displacement of identity.

“I have to see my son. He’s naked without me!”
- Linda Hamilton as Sara Connor, Terminator 2


Have a think. I love feedback and criticism. Praise I like best, especially with superlatives like “best” and “most brilliant ever” in it.

Maybe I did these because I’m full of shit and desperate for love and attention. Maybe I’m just bored. Maybe I’ve got something of an “artist” in me (definition pending).

I think, like so many things I do, it’s a combination of them all.

I’ll just end with a quote by someone more famous and talented than I:

“I want to be everywhere.
I want to do everything.
I want to fuck everyone in the world.
I want to do something that matters.”
- Trent Reznor, The Downward Spiral

© Ipedia
To view additional photos in this series, visit Ipedia's Flickr gallery.
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