Trade clxi | Month 22 | Spring
Hotel Armada Pera | Istanbul
When I sat down in the breakfast area to discuss my trade with the hotel manager, Mira, it took about 40 minutes before we actually moved into talking about the shoot. Mira had no idea about The Pixel Trade at the time, she thought I was pretentious travel photographer who wanted free accommodation along with transfers from the airport and all food included, for nothing in return. Once the miscommunication was realised we moved into the zone of two close friends sarcastically joking to one another. Mira didn’t even wait for me to completely explain my project before saying something along the lines of ‘You can stay as long as you need, we’ll look after you. This, to me, was a reflection of how open minded this woman is and as a result does the most phenomenal job at managing Hotel Armada Pera.
The Pixel Trade was photographing two different subjects. The first was a private boat owned and run by the hotel and the second was interiors of the hotel itself, capturing the ambience and aesthetic of the hotel brand. On top of this Mira took me to a food event where the best 101 restaurants in Istanbul were showcasing their cuisines... I didn’t have to photograph this, my brief was to eat as much of this food as I could possibly fit.
| note: if the images don't fit on your screen, don't be frightened to click on them |
Interview with Mira
(she pointed out that her written English isn't so good, I deliberately didn't correct anything she wrote, as I do with all interviews)
Describe your most memorable adventure as a child.
I was 6 years old, we have a summer house in the south of Turkey called Kalkan close to the Aegean see. My mom was always telling me, how much those places where full of History and have seen incredible civilizations through the centuries. One day, they left me and one of my friend from the village alone at home and I was convince that there was a treasure dig in the garden after what I heard in the stories. Just for the info the garden was a vegetable garden where my mom was trying to grow different vegetables. But no fresh vegetables for us this summer! Cause we dug all the garden, destroying everything on our way, we were full of mud. It was the best day of my summer, I didn't find anything but when my parents when back home they didn't went mad, but just die of laughing seeing us and our mess. And just see them so much laugh because of me, was my treasure.
If there was one thing about the past that you could change, what would it be?
Super cliché, but I can't stop thanking god and friends and family for this Fucking life and fucking luck!
P.s: Maybe work a bit more when I was in school, cause I really was a dunce. But a dunce who always find his way to pass the years!
How did you end up in the hotel business?
One night, it was a very cold day outside, I had a light coming through my window, I woke up! The light entered my room, and blossomed to a figure… The figure of GOD! He told me: "Mira! very nice name by the way, you are the chosen one for guiding all the hospitality industry in the right way".
Since that I am in the business.
What is one of the industry secrets about hotels?
I can't tell or they'll kill me…
What is one of the most interesting guests you’ve looked after?
You want me to tell you: You are Shantanu! And no, I won't!:) but you were one of them! Honestly, every week is just a new chapter of new incredible and interesting guests. It is what I really love about my job. And especially when you have a small boutique hotel, the people are coming much easier sharing their life with you. And weirdly, everyone as such an amazing life when you give time to listen to them!
What is the biggest challenge for managing hotels?
You have different departments with different back grounds with different education who work all together under the same roof. And honestly to harmonize that every day is quite hard. I always believed that when you have harmony and happiness in the working environment is already 80% of satisfaction for your guest.
If you could teach a group of kids one thing in life, what would it be?
Laugh as much long as you can and hard as you can!!! It is SOOO good!
If there was one guarantee in your future what would you like it to be?
That I will be respectful with everything and everybody until my last breath. Also that I will have good friends and good food for ever!
Is there something you haven’t told someone in a long time?
Yes, to the woman who raised me! Hard to say to her face, because we have a confrontation relation. But mommy: first I love you and OMG how funny you are thank you!!
Describe your most memorable adventure as an adult.
The day that I lost my virginity… (This is a joke, don't put it in the interview!)
It was my 4 years of university, might sound very american sorority girly and I am sorry about that! But my 4 years of hospitality school in Lausanne were Alpha Beta: AMAZING! I can begin with all the crazy stories, but trust me it was more everything else than studying, most important I had the chance to go in a lot of places in the world!
If you had to recommend a favourite music album, what would it be?
I grown up with lot of jazz in my hears. And my ultimate favorite jazz singer is Randy Crawford, WHAT a voice!! My top number one album of my life that I listen every week minimum No regrets (2008), Randy Crawford and Joe Sample