- Photographer Roger Eberhard stayed in 32 different Hilton hotel rooms in 32 countries within the span of 365 days.
- He photographed the views from his hotel windows, all of which look very different, and sequenced them with photos of each room, which looked remarkably identical.
- The photo series compiled in his book “Standard” illustrates how, even when we travel, humans tend to gravitate toward standardization and crave certainty.
Swiss photographer Roger Eberhard doesn’t usually stay in hotels like the popular Hilton chain when he travels.
But for his new project, “Standard,” he switched things up a bit – by staying in 32 different Hilton rooms across 32 countries.
In each of the 32 cities, he photographed his room from the exact same angle, as well as the view of the city from the hotel window.
Business Insider spoke to Roger Eberhard about his series.
Roger Eberhard set out on his travels specifically for this project.
Over the course of exactly 365 days, he stayed in 32 cities across 32 countries.
In each city, he stayed in a Hilton hotel room and photographed both the room …
… and the view of the city from the hotel window, like Tel Aviv below.
He compiled his photos into a series, called “Standard,” named for humans’ innate need for standardization.
“It raises questions about our need for security, that is the main aspect of the project,” Eberhard said.
“The system was always the same: four pillows, there was an armchair in the corner with a reading light, and all the hotels had the same alarm clock,” Eberhard said.
The uniformity was important for the project, Eberhard said. The layout had to be the same, which for the most part was easy to find …
… except when it came to the bed. The bed had to be on the right side of the room upon entering.
But it almost never worked out on the first try.
Eberhard said he had to change rooms ten times while staying in Nairobi, Kenya, to find a layout with the bed on the side that he wanted.
He said he would say to the staff, “’I’m not happy with the room, can you give me a room with the bed on the right-hand side?’”
He said despite his unique requests, the Hilton staff was completely accommodating.
He stayed in only one hotel for each country, flying from Australia to Asia to Turkey to Dubai, among others, for only one night.
As for why he chose the Hilton hotel chain as his lodging, Eberhard said it’s because it’s one of the biggest names in the western hotel industry.
“When I think of westernized hotels, there’s a few that I can think of, but Hilton is definitely one of them,” Eberhard said.
“If some people need the comfort and the recognizability, the American feel of home, they stay at the Hilton, or any of these hotels offering something that’s high in demand,” Eberhard said.
Eberhard said he doesn’t usually stay in hotels like the Hilton when he travels, but he had nothing but good experiences staying at Hiltons for the project.
“It’s a comfortable way of staying for sure,” Eberhard said.
He said the hotels try to “infuse aspects of localism” into their hotels depending on which country or city they’re located in.
“Sometimes it’s the curtains, or a Murano glass lamp like in the Venice hotel, or weird wallpaper that gives a hint to the cultures where you are, yet still [in a] very sterile and controlled way,” Eberhard said.
“We live now in a time where we try to have more individualized experiences, and you have these little things in the hotels that let you know where you are in the world,” Eberhard said.
But, he said, what was funny was, when you stripped the rooms of their local characteristics, they were all the same.
Not every hotel was built in the same decade either.
Eberhard said that could set them apart from each other.
“A hotel built in Cairo in the 1970s looked very different from one in Paris that was refurbished,” Eberhard said.
But still, especially with photos of each hotel room laid out side-by-side in “Standard,” the standard rooms look nearly identical.
“You wake up and you have no idea what continent you are on,” Eberhard said.
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