Photography Classes @ MERHS

Week 1 Feb 23-27: Inspiration Post

By on 02/25/2015

“No Vacancy- A Post-Apocalyptic Look in Abandoned Hotels Photography”

The series “No Vacancy” is an on-going series by photographer Samantha VanDeman. In her series she takes photos of hotels around the United States that have been abandoned for 5-50 years. Most of her photos are taken in vacant hotels in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, New York, and Alabama. The photographer has stated that she doesn’t stage the photos she takes because it, “would take away the element of wonder which is so crucial to in photography and art itself.” VanDeman also explained that some photos seem set-up because explorers in the past have come to the hotels and have moved the stuff around.

While looking at the photos she has taken, I have noticed a few aspects to her style as a photographer. Her photos are all horizontal (not vertical) so they contain a wide view of the subject photographed. She also mostly takes photos of whole rooms and only sometimes focuses on small objects in the room. Her style is more “the bigger picture”. I also noticed that none of the photos have a dark lighting and the rooms are well lit in each photo. This makes we wonder if she only takes photos in day time, if she takes pictures in rooms with windows open, and if she has instruments to help with lighting in her photos.

My favorite is photo in the collection is the photo of the abandoned indoor pool.I have seen many abandoned rooms in my life and photos of abandoned rooms but I have never seen an abandoned indoor pool. I have also never even thought about the idea of abandoned pools and what they look like with no water/care put into their maintenance.


I really like this series of abandoned hotels because I personally like photos that aren’t glamorous, but look old or are taken in places that are falling apart or are decrepit. This series has inspired me to explore this kind of photography more through my own work.