In March 2020, Birmingham-based photographer Art Meripol shot the remodel of the historic Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel and Spa in Mobile, Alabama. Art’s relationship with the Director of Public Relations at PCH, the hotel group that includes this property, began in 2013 on a shoot for Southern Living Magazine. Since that time, the photographer has been contracted to expand the marketing library at all of the group’s properties with up-to-date imagery.
All of PCH’s properties are on a regular schedule for updating to stay fresh. We always have a long shot list and pack in a lot each day.
The Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel and Spa is one of PCH’s historic properties and a member of Historic Hotels America. The hotel dates back to 1852 and the building to 1908, but the remodeling efforts happened within the past year.
We did an extensive shoot there a few years ago but another update required another shoot. It was great going back to see the changes and working with the staff there a second time.
Art had two days to capture many aspects of the hotel, including the exterior architecture, two restaurants with food and bar shots, pet-friendly rooms, the lobby, and the mezzanine. Part of the reason PCH chose Art for the job is his background in several different kinds of photography.
Because of my background, I’m comfortable moving from portraiture to food, architecture, lifestyle with talent or without all in a day. And this shoot had it all including pets.
Though he had shot the Historic Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel before, the remodel required Art to scout the location a day before the shoot to familiarize himself with the updated areas. Art’s history working with the hotel group’s in-house marketing team gave him unique insight into the client’s needs and the eccentric pieces of the hotel that they wanted to capture.
There’s a well-known acoustic anomaly on the mezzanine, the Whispering Arches, where someone can whisper in a corner and someone across the room can hear it in another corner. We had a staffer’s daughter come help demonstrate that.
To keep the shoot low key even though this was before COVID, Art worked without any assistants. This meant that he had to set up and break down equipment by himself at each new location throughout the hotel and spa. Plus, the photographer had to source easily accessible talent to convey the lifestyle and pet-friendly aspects of the hotel.
Two employees brought their dogs for us to work with in a room and in the lobby. Any shoot with dogs is one I want to do. But it’s hard to stop petting and pick up the camera.
The Historic Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel and Spa plans to use Art’s photos in print ads, marketing collateral, the hotel website, and press handouts for editorial publications on Mobile or the hotel. Some of his previous work for the hotel can be seen in their ads about the hotel’s efforts during the pandemic.
Every time I shoot for them, I learn a bit more about their needs and constraints. My favorite part of the shoot was reestablishing relationships with the hotel staff and working with such a professional team who all care about getting it right.
Director of PR for PCH: Bill Land
Art Director at PCH: Jeff Tidmore
Social Media and Graphic Designer at PCH: Greer Borland
Historic Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel and Spa General Manager: Margo Gilbert
See more of Art’s work at artmeripol.com.
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