Ajda Schmidt Captures the Loneliness of an Abandoned Yugoslavian Hotel on Kodak Portra 400

All images by Ajda Schmidt. Used with Creative Commons permission.

It’s amazing how places often seem to retain a certain mood or character long after they’ve been deserted. This is most likely what draws urban explorers to such locations, be it an eerie crumbling hospital or a forgotten ghost town. In one of her sets however, Slovenian photographer and graphic designer Ajda Schmidt captures not the eerie stillness of an abandoned hotel in Yugoslavia, but the melancholy mood housed within its spaces.

It’s been years since, the title of her set goes, and we note that it’s the case from what remains of its interiors. The place was trashed, and there’s barely anything around, apart from the bits and pieces in Ajda’s photos. The interiors are outdated and slowly crumbling away. Dust gathers in every nook and cranny, piling up as they lay undisturbed. Some of the floor tiles have chipped and peeled off, with trash scattered here and there. The windows are clothed with draperies evidently old-fashioned but must have been stylish in the hotel’s heyday.

While Ajda didn’t mention the name of the hotel or its exact whereabouts, she instead described what the whole place felt like: Looking sad yet fabulous as if Jovanka Broz (Yugoslavia’s First Lady) met Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. It’s been years since, Ajda said, and from this description alone, we can guess that close to four decades had passed. How busy and lively it must have been back in the day, the photos show only the eerie silence surrounding it today.

Ajda also couldn’t have picked a better tool than a medium format camera loaded with Kodak Portra 400 to capture the hotel’s somber atmosphere. This film is particularly loved for its creamy, natural colors on portraits, but it’s also a great film that lends a nostalgic hue to any kind of photography.

Check out Ajda Schmidt’s Behance portfolio to see more of her photography and other creative projects.