Last April, Chandler Borries’ aerial photograph of Ecuador’s Mashpi Lodge — a sustainable hotel located in the heart of the Choco rainforest reserve — was featured in an article by Condé Nast Traveler. The Lisbon, Portugal-based photographer, known for his brand narrative, travel, and landscape photography, captured the image for the rainforest retreat situated on the edge of the 6,000-acre Mashpi Rainforest Reserve. The reserve is home to over 400 species of birds, frogs, trees and other endemic species found nowhere else in the world. Condé Nast reached out to the remote eco-hotel for use of the image.
Music, and sound in general, bypasses cognition…I could tell you that the Mashpi reserve is home to over 400 bird species. But if you actually listen to their sounds, you’re going to connect with the place in a much more direct and emotional way.Miguel Sevilla, Director of Grupo Futuro, Mashpi’s parent company, Condé Nast Traveler
Chandler originally planned his trip after being approached by Bird PR about a collaboration with Mashpi Lodge and Olympus Cameras. The luxury travel PR agency was familiar with his work as Chandler had previously photographed hotels they’ve managed around the world. The project fell through but being an avid traveler, Chandler was already planning on heading to Ecuador. From there, he embarked on a different assignment for Mashpi Lodge.
Chandler met with the eco-hotel and the PR firm to determine what type of images were needed. Mashpi Lodge’s social media was already equipped with visuals of the hotel’s interior, so Chandler set out to capture the landscape, the adventures, and the unique wildlife that resides in the national park.
Mashpi Lodge is in the most stunning location I think I’ve ever been. It’s a two-hour drive down dirt roads, ridgelines, and jungle until you arrive. I stayed in the hotel for three days and each day was with a different guide. As the hotel is in the Choco Cloud Forest (Similar to a rainforest, but it starts at 3,000 feet) most days were light rain and muddy.
I believe Mashpi Lodge was attracted to working together because of my landscape photography. I love shooting open and dramatic spaces, so I think my work fits in perfectly with what they were looking for.
The guides that accompanied Chandler were from local surrounding villages. To say they were familiar with the forest and animals would be an understatement. Not only were they extremely knowledgeable, but they were comfortable in their work, allowing Chandler to photograph them authentically, through environmental portraits.
Before I shoot a particular location, I’ll look up images of the location and try to come up with photos that I really want to capture. When I was there, shooting on the fly, I found it easy to get the right landscape shots as I was surrounded by beauty. I always find it easy to get the right shots if you’re shooting in an inspiring location.
Photographing the Choco Cloud Forest at Mashpi Lodge is one of my fondest memories of my career so far. I will always look back at the images with nostalgia for my time there, being surrounded by dramatic landscapes, alluring animals and genuine locals who work at Mashpi. Those are the things that inspire me and why I love photography so much. Every shoot is a beautiful memory that I can always look back on and smile.
See more of Chandler’s images on Instagram.