December 2013 Photo shoot for La Maison Blanche Hotel, Tangiers, Morocco
Living on the central Andalucian coast, I can see Africa from my photo studio window on a clear day. The exotic destination of Morocco lies just across the Straits of Gibraltar, and before Christmas I was commissioned to carry out a photo shoot for the beautiful hotel La Maison Blanche in Tangiers. The hotel is perfectly nestled in the Kasbah and the perfume of jasmine wafts over you as you walk in the door.
Southern Europe and North Africa: I don´t think you’ll find two continents anywhere else with such a short distance between them, but which are different in so many ways. This hotel is a riad – a traditional old house built around a patio, renovated into a luxury retreat hotel. The owners Aziz and Pilar, together with their French interior designer, have made a distinctive mark on the hotel. This is one of those dream-come-true places and you cannot fail to see the enthusiasm in the owners’ eyes. They are the perfect hosts and will go the extra mile to make your stay comfortable.
The rich reds and cool peppermint greens of the reception invite you to sink into the deep sofas and pore over the beautiful coffee table books on Morocco. The soothing background noise of the trickling mosaic fountains, with delicate peach-coloured roses floating in their water, immediately puts you at ease. An oasis from the hustle and bustle of the kasbah. Each bedroom has its own unique design, again featuring vibrant colours and jewel-toned fabrics, walls printed with graphic designs, all in bold reds, cobalt blues, and featuring the iconic motif of Islamic architecture – the horseshoe arch, as well as typical intricately-patterned Moroccan lamps. The hotel’s rooftop terrace, standing proud at five storeys high above in the kasbah, provides unrestricted panoramic views of the city, and was the perfect location for the Hotel Essence team to shoot the in-house Moroccan breakfast of pomegranate, croissants and fresh orange juice.
Holly Penny was responsible for the styling and we worked with two assistants and the owners and hosts, Aziz and Pilar, to complete the photo shoot. Interiors, architectural details, food, rooms, staircases, terraces, views, sunsets and fountains were all shot. A small and beautiful photo commission, for a small and beautiful nine-room riad in Tangiers.
December 2013 Christmas decorations and food photo shoot, Finca Cortesin, Casares, Spain
It’s always a pleasure to end the year with a Christmas shoot, and this year my stylist, Holly Penny, and I chose to capture the festive feeling at the stunning luxury resort hotel, Finca Cortesin, right here in Andalucia. The hotel was tastefully decorated in warm winter tones and their award-winning chef, Lutz Bosing, created the most exquisite Christmas edible delicacies, including chocolate and gold-leaf baubles- a deliciously appetising photograph. We also focussed on the ceramics of the Italian-style portico, which provided the ideal backdrop for Finca Cortesin´s Christmas message. Understated elegance as always.
December 2013 Photo credits in travel book BAA
Working as a photographer the time just flies by, and many times you send out images and then never see them in print. So visiting a Waterstones bookshop in England was a treat indeed: browsing through the travel guide section, I found two or three titles on Spain, choc-a-bloc with my photo credits.
December 2013 Visit from art critic Jesús Reina
Spanish Art Critic Jesús Reina Palazón visited my studio to review recent work and projects.
December 2013 Lakonia Disaster Anniversary, Gibraltar
The 50th anniversary of the tragic fire aboard the cruise ship Lakonia in 1962 was commemorated in Gibraltar, where many victims were transported to. On 6 December, a plaque was unveiled in the cemetery, and survivors and rescuers gave moving speeches recalling their experiences of that fateful night. Chris Chaplow, my husband and Managing Director of Andalucia.com, which was instrumental in coming up with the idea for the plaque, also took part in the ceremony. I photographed the event, including taking portraits of the protagonists. You can read more about the Lakonia disaster here, and the Commemoration Ceremony on 6 December here.
December 2013 Christmas Greetings from London
Wishing all my news readers and fellow photographers around the world a very happy Christmas.