Robyn Stacey Exhibition at Stills Gallery

Rm 1526, Mercure, Sydney, Jodi, by Robyn Stacey.

Rm 1526, Mercure, Sydney, Jodi, by Robyn Stacey.

19 Sep 2013

A new exhibition by art photographer Robyn Stacey explores hotel rooms and the people who occupy them, using the oldest and newest camera technology.

In her upcoming exhibition Guest Relations, at Sydney's Stills Gallery, contemporary art photographer Robyn Stacey combines the simplest form of the camera, the camera obscura, with high-end digital photography to explore hotel rooms and the people who stay in them. Stacey says, “Hotel rooms are waiting spaces: waiting in rooms for people to arrive, for events to start, or just waiting to go home. They’re also private spaces.”

Her project explores what she describes as “the fleeting and ephemeral experience and how this is captured as a moment out of time, by the photographic still”. The project was developed for an Artist in Residency earlier this year, at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, a hotel known for its uninterrupted panoramic views over the Melbourne CBD and surrounding suburbs. It was then extended to hotels and holiday locations in Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast.

Stacey says, “The aim of the residency was to explore the hermetic, but transient nature of the hotel room. As the view is a significant part of the hotel experience I wanted to incorporate the external cityscape into the interior. By making the room into a camera obscura (the simplest and earliest form of pin-hole camera) the external view is then naturally projected back into the room, upside down and in reverse, allowing me to photograph the view and the room together in one image."

"This visual combination creates a dreamlike setting which serves as the backdrop and creates an environment for the guests to be photographed in. There are no tricks – just using the earliest and simplest form of photography to produce spectacular cinematic results. The people in the photographs aren’t models and they bring their personality to the rooms, in a sense creating their own narratives.”

Stacey has recreated the camera obscura process with ambitious scale and in unexpected settings, transforming the interiors of high-rise city hotel chains and quiet coastline holiday destinations into dark rooms for dramatically projected landscape vistas. Businessmen, young couples, and solo travellers have been positioned like actors in these dreamlike scenarios; the upside-down, reversed and distorted visual effects of a camera obscura produce surreal spaces which aim to materialise their inhabitants’ thoughts.

Guest Relations will run from October 9 to November 9 at Stills Gallery, 36 Gosbell St, Paddington, Sydney. Ph: (02) 9331 7775 or see

Rm 1526 Mercure Sydney Jodi by Robyn Stacey.
Rm 1526 Mercure, Sydney, Jodi, by Robyn Stacey.

Rm 2016 Shangri-La, Sydney, Courtney, by Robyn Stacey.
Rm 2016 Shangri-La, Sydney, Courtney, by Robyn Stacey.

Rm 2516, Shangri-La, Sydney, Isobel, by Robyn Stacey.
Rm 2516 Shangri-La, Sydney, Isobel, by Robyn Stacey.

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