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Images of Restoration: Hotel Art on Sunset eSatin

The renovation of a historic South Beach hotel required the revitalizing photography and printing of Sheila de Lemos to help bring it back to life.

Sheila de Lemos

The indelible and iconic south Florida photography of Sheila de Lemos now adorns the newly-renovated Angler's Hotel in Miami's South Beach district.

When the 1930s hotel was brought back to life after years of vacancy, it was natural that much of de Lemos' photographic artwork would decorate the interior and represent the hotel's rebirth.

Commissioned to provide around 340 photographs representing south Florida, de Lemos created, selected, and printed all of the pieces which would adorn just about every space, from guest rooms to bathrooms and even electrical panels, in The Angler's Hotel.

Output with Epson 9600 and 7800 printers on LexJet's Sunset Photo eSatin Paper and framed by Miami's famed framer, Borders Inc., the final prints would range in size from 16 in. x 16 in. to 36 in. x 65 in.

"People love the eSatin. It's a beautiful paper, and one of the reasons I decided to use eSatin on this project was the fact that I would get a very nice print for a lot less money. I've printed on all the different inkjet surfaces, but I like eSatin best for my saturated botanical photography," explains de Lemos.

Sheila de Lemos

Though most of the photos were printed on Sunset Photo eSatin, de Lemos printed a smattering of images on Sunset Select Matte Canvas for canvas wraps in areas of the hotel that cried out for a more painterly effect while retaining the impact of the photography.

"The most important thing I learned through this project is that I can count on my materials and equipment. It gives me a tremendous amount of freedom to go out and solicit more work, because I know I can go out and produce it. The Angler's is proof positive that I can deliver a sizable amount of work in a reasonable amount of time," says de Lemos. "Plus, with the ImagePrint RIP all I had to do was set up the printers through the software, go to bed, wake up the next morning, and it was all there waiting for me. In the old days, you stayed up all night printing. You can count on ImagePrint to print what you ask it to print, which is different than printing just through the driver. You can set up the profiles, and it all works."

When de Lemos was initially commissioned by The Angler's Hotel to provide its artwork, the hotel's owners were looking for local color rather than typical beach scenes. As de Lemos explains, anyone can purchase stock thematic poster art, but a lot of developers and corporations want something unique that sets their environment apart from the crowd.

Sheila de Lemos

The hotel wanted what it called "hyper-focused images" that would evoke south Florida and its environs rather than state the obvious. Therefore, de Lemos was a perfect fit, since her specialty is close-up photography of Florida's flowers and plants.

"They wanted the tropical feeling without the beach pictures. So most of the photos I chose were botanical close-ups with very lush colors and a lot of succulence using cactus and local plants that flower only in this warm climate," explains de Lemos.

Moreover, says de Lemos, the photographic medium was chosen over paintings or fine-art reproductions for its "basis in reality," as she puts it. The hotel's owners wanted guests to have a more concrete connection to the images. The balance was struck between concrete and abstract with de Lemos' close-ups; the images connect to reality, yet the close-up nature of the images provides enough abstraction to be thought-provoking conversation-starters.

"Photography is believable medium that is understandable. It's more accessible and easier to live with. It is an immediate artwork, and people enjoy connecting with it, particularly if it's not overly manipulated in the computer," says de Lemos. "My artwork has its basis in reality. You know that what you're looking at started as a real object. Even if I capture a part of a plant that's only an 1/8 inch in reality, use a macro lens, and blow it up, the viewer still gets the sense that it exists somewhere in our world."

The Angler's Hotel project is leading to other similar venues for developers, hotels, banks, corporations, and others who see the value of distinctive images printed and framed or gallery wrapped for their space.

Volume 3  -  No. 3

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