For those of us whose eyes linger at the entryways and windows of grand homes and apartment buildings while abroad, the work of Miguel Flores-Vianna grants the voyeur’s pleasure of glimpsing a very private side of the world’s cities and towns. The Argentinian-born, London-based photographer travels between Europe and America chronicling the work of noted interior designers for publications like Cabana and Architectural Digest, in the process gleaning a unique insight into the places he visits. “To see a city like this is priceless, because ultimately what the tourists get is accessible, but to be able to get into someone’s house, someone who lives in a completely different place, in a completely different way to the one you’re used to, to me, that is the treasure,” he explains.
Miguel’s celebrated book Haute Bohemians captures the idiosyncratic and eccentric residences of global creatives, collectors, and aristocrats, while championing his belief that a home can reveal much more about a person than their sense of style. It was a visit to the West Village home of photographer Francois Halard, early in his previous career as a magazine editor in New York, that this particular notion first struck. “It was a house that made me tingle,” he recalls. “I realized the reason why is because the house is him—an extension of the way he is. That’s what I have always strived to photograph: to try to show the house as an extension of whoever lives there rather than just a place or a bunch of stuff.”
When not on assignment, reading is the catalyst for Miguel’s travels. Often a single sentence sows the desire to visit a destination, his imagination building a dream of the place and its people from there. Right now, Persia and Uzbekistan are high on the list, as well as the countryside of Japan for the fleeting vision of a hotaru matsuri (firefly festival). One constant in his itinerary is the Greek island of Hydra, which he visits every August for quiet, afternoon hikes, and fresh-grilled fish.
What does your ideal day look like on Hydra?This year we have started frequenting a very small taverna in Kamini named To Pefkaki. Our Greek friends told us it is the most home-cooked-like meal one could have on the island and with a beautiful view of the Saronic Gulf. After our first visit I realized that it was all very true and much better even. It is family-owned, with the wife cooking while the husband and sons take care of the serving. The fish is always fresh and grilled and the vegetable dishes plentiful. I usually order my food and go for a swim on a small bay surrounded by some rock promontories directly below the restaurant. I am back ten minutes later to the served food. People say I am crazy but in the afternoons I love to hike under the hottest sun. My favorite hike is to the Profitis Ilias Monastery, the largest and most important on the island with commanding views of the sea and the Peloponnese.