Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Thank you, Radisson Blu Palais Hotel, Vienna

I changed the title of this post from Making Off - Immaculate Charm  to “Thank you Radisson Blu Palais Hotel, Vienna”.

Photo source

Unexpectedly, finding a photo shoot location this winter has been a real challenge.
During the cold season I usually prefer indoor locations or photo studios and during the warm months I love the natural light (in the early morning/late afternoon) in outdoor locations.

My previous collaborations with Essl Museum and 25hours Hotel have been very pleasant and easy going.

Photo-shoot @ Essl Museum
Photo-shoot @ 25hours Hotel

I wish to emphasize that there are many people from all professional fields that are aware that being a young designer, photographer, stylist, singer, actor etc. it’s a tough profession (sure, excluding the rich "kids"). I’m often offered help from friends or strangers as they very well know how difficult it is to make a living. On the other hand, the creative process is so beautiful and challenging that it fills your heart with joy and the financial gain is left in a tiny corner of your mind. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t build my carrier on other’s help, I hardly accept support and when it happens it has to either involve a minimal effort or to be a win-win situation.

This year I'm planning to achieve a small bridal project (I will tell you about it in a future post); I started to think about the concept late last year and the practical work began already in November. The project is divided into two parts: photography and graphic design. As I also like to support others at the beginning of their career, I decided to work together with a freshly established make-up artist. So, the planned photo shoot had to focus on close-ups in order to best see the make-up. Claire Morgan happily offered to help and our friend, Nadia Danecek who is always besides us, loves to be involved in our creative projects, so it was easy to convince her again to model.

The only thing we needed was the location: it had to be bright, charming and beautiful. Claire came with a few helpful suggestions and when I saw Le Palais Sans Souci having a presentation corner at Wedding Affairs, I thought that our wedding theme would perfectly match their concept. I sent an email to Claudia Jungwirth (Palais-Management & Marketing) not omitting to say that the photography part will be done by one of the best wedding photographers in Austria. My main request was their permission to use one/two of their empty main rooms/hallways, for a couple of hours, guaranteeing our respect towards their guests comfort and peace.
When I told my husband about my intend to collaborate with Sans Souci he started to bitterly smile and said that his working colleague, in charge with their corporate events, received that day a huge, expensive box with this location’s overpriced offers for events. I argued that there are many rich people that could afford it but I also know that many companies like to help/support artists. He again smiled and told me that Sans Souci seems to hunt for cash and not to be bothered with small projects. I was hoping that he’s wrong but time showed that he was actually right.

The time was pressing as Claire had other upcoming projects and her honey-moon trip to India in late December. I waited in vain the answer from Claudia Jungwirth and five days before the shoot I decided to personally ask at a different location.

As I saw on facebook that other designers had photo shoots at the Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom, I took my husband by the hand and went there. I never had a similar experience: because I have mistaken the front desk manager for the concierge, he treated us strange and unprofessional. We told him that we wish to talk to the hotel’s manager regarding a photo shoot project and he replied that we will get to her only if HE wants. In that moment I knew that my little mistake will highly influence the manager’s decision. I left my business card, in return getting the promise that she’ll call me. To my surprise, the manager did called, refused to speak English, was very unfriendly and simply told me that she won’t give us the permission to shoot in the hotel, but if we want to use the white suite for a couple of hours, I would have to pay the full price for a night, about 700€. I kept asking her a couple of times for permission to even only use the reception area, mentioning that also other designers runned projects in their hotel. She said that this time it's different and I’ll have to pay the full price.

I couldn’t believe that such huge companies could be so ruthless. They had nothing to lose but gain some beautiful photos and people’s respect for supporting passionate artists. On the other hand, it came to my mind that sometimes, millionaires often refuse to give a dollar to a hungry person on the street but spend fortunes at casinos or restaurants for their own pleasure.

I almost gave up searching for that perfect place; I was feeling sick of such attitude and decided to have the shoot in my atelier, four days later, on Saturday the 1st of December.

Just two days before the shoot, a good friend of mine, Destiny Kismet invited me to a fashion show where I had the pleasure to meet again her friends: a singing duo. I told them how disappointed I was by these luxury hotels and asked if they have some tips. One of the singers, as a striving but very talented artist, took a part-time job at the Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom shortly after they opened it. The conditions were awful and from a desk receptionist in their restaurant she ended up washing dishes three weeks later.
The great thing is that the music duo had a video shoot in the Radisson few weeks before and had an amazing time. They insisted that the manager is very supportive and that I should try to contact him the next day. I believed them, but still, I had my doubts based on my previous experience.
The following day, my husband called Markus Prem, the manager of Radisson to ask if he accepts to host the shoot in his hotel. We were sitting down at Starbucks, I was very nervous and somehow embarrassed to ask him on such a short notice. To our immense surprise, Markus was extremely friendly and helpful. He told us that he will call back in a couple of hours to tell us if they have any availability.

Markus Prem, Assistant Director of Sales & Marketing

In less than an hour he called me back and asked me to come over to the hotel and pick an available room that I would like. I couldn’t believe what a friendly, professional, kind person he is! On the way to the hotel, my heart was jumping of joy! When I personally met him, he showed me around and told me the Palais’s history.

© Claire Morgan
© Claire Morgan

The rooms were gorgeous, much more than I expected. As I understood, Radisson is very well connected to the wedding scene by hosting many events. The salons looked genuinely imperial and the atmosphere was warm and cosy. The next day we had our shoot; it took us three hours including the preparations. We didn’t disturb anything or anyone. A small gesture from such an open minded person meant a lot to me! 

He loved the photos and they might even use them in their advertising material!

Conclusion: When I'm able to, I also like to offer my support to artists or art in many forms. I’m often asked why am I wasting my time to write about others (designers, tailors, singers, painters, photographers etc.)?! Many don’t know or don’t understand that it’s so nice to be in touch with art or people that have passions, hobbies, talents. I like to encourage small businesses by choosing a hand-made product in a grocery store, drinking a coffee in a small, arty café or buy a creation from an underground artist. Not to forget to mention: all these inspires my work, so I will keep writing and dedicating my time and thoughts to everything that’s made from the heart.

Photos © Claire Morgan

Below few snap shots:

Claire :)

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