The colourful hotel that gave me more than a great holiday.
The JW Marriott Phu Quoc was just what I needed when I needed it.
As many of you know. I often go through mini-crisis’ with my Instagram every few months in an attempt to figure out what I want my ‘aesthetic’ to be and what I want my Instagram account to look like. I always knew that I much preferred how my account looked over summer, being bright and colourful, but as the months grew colder and the days got shorter, I found that I was gravitating to darker more ‘winter’ tones because it felt like what needed to be done for the season. But it never felt like ‘frombeewithlove’ and what I wanted the account to be. I wanted my space in the online world to be inviting, bright, and joyful. I wanted people to see my imagery and even if it’s just a split second, feel just a little bit better.
But when I looked at my account over the winter, I wasn’t feeling any of those things. It felt dark, almost cold and not really a space that I would want to hang out in for a long time. It didn’t have that ‘love’ feeling that I wanted to convey. Love is meant to be happy and sunny, but the account felt very serious and dark.
By the time I visited JW Marriott Phu Quoc, I wasn’t in a particularly good space with my account, I was feeling a bit confused with it. I knew that I wasn’t happy with it, but I didn’t know what to do with it and I didn’t know what the answer was. Now, imagine this: you leave the cold, rainy England and emerge on the other side in a tropical, colourful paradise. It was like a light switch went off in my brain and I had an epiphany. As soon as I saw the blue and yellow buildings, I knew. There’s a certain feeling you get when you see a bunch of colours. For me, I’m instantly put in a better mood when I’m surrounded by colour and life. And as soon as I stepped onto the resort, I knew this feeling I had was something that I wanted to capture in my photography. No matter what season it was.
For some reason, I had this idea in my mind that colour was only for summer. That there was no way that a colourful feed would work in the winter. But there I was in March in one of the most colourful resorts I’d ever stepped foot in feeling happy as Larry. I realised that there’s certain escapism involved when it comes to colour, and when you’re around a lot of colour it doesn’t necessarily feel like real life. In Northampton, where I’m from, colourful buildings are few and far between. Everything is brick or grey and not all too inspiring. So being in this resort, I felt like my entire world had just opened up.
The JW Marriott in Phu Quoc made me think about colour in ways I’d never thought about before. I never would’ve thought to put Turquoise and black together, but the pairing worked so well. Similarly, I didn’t think yellow and green, or pink and yellow, or blue and pink could co-exist in harmony but they are now some of my favourite colour pairings. Everything looked and felt intentional, so it really changed my mindset on how colour can work. When it’s done intentionally and with confidence, anything can look good.
So imagine this: you return from this beautiful, colourful paradise to cold and dreary U.K. only to be put into Lockdown caused by a global pandemic a week after you land. It felt like my colourful dreams had been put on hold, how was I going to put colour into my photos when I could no longer go outside and travel to colourful places? Well, the answer was to get creative and work with what you have.
So I did.
After I returned to Vietnam, I started thinking about creating my own presets to cement my new found colourful identity. I figured out that with Lightroom I could somehow change my grey bathroom wall to green, that I could change a white wall to blue, and I could use bedsheets as a cheaper alternative to backdrops. After using other people’s presets for so many years, I figured out how to make my own. And do them well. I learnt how to create colour that wasn’t there and enhance the colour that was. I felt like a changed woman with a reignited passion for editing.
I can’t help but feel that without visiting the JW Marriott Phu Quoc, my feed wouldn’t look how it looks now. Full of life, colour and joy. It’s become my very own little colourful paradise, and I can’t see myself going back anytime soon.