Some of our customers are so cool, we wish we had their jobs. No, seriously – take, for example, Joe Rahim. In his role as photographer-turned-digital asset manager at Inspirato, he’s trekked around the globe, visiting some of the world’s most beautiful locales to photograph exquisite vacation homes and experiences.
We got the chance to chat with Joe about his journey from art school to luxury architecture photographer to, now, managing the production of the incredible imagery Inspirato uses to market their premium vacations. Read our conversation below (beware: it may make you want a pina colada and a beach vacation, ASAP).
Inspirato brings relaxation back into vacations with carefully curated luxury properties. The marketing team uses Canto as their central destination for visual assets. Read their story here.
Great to have you with us, Joe. Tell us a little about your journey in the creative world and how you ended up at Inspirato.
I’ve always been a creative throughout my career. I went to art school and studied graphic design, and then ended up working in the travel industry for 15 years, first at a company called Exclusive Resorts. Inspirato was later started by the same founders and I was one of their first hires.
I spent five to six years as a photographer for Inspirato, so I traveled a lot to shoot our vacation homes and experiences. We have photographers attend our experiences, such as cruises, as an added service so that our guests don’t need to take their own photos. We also photograph the properties that we lease as vacation homes.
That sounds like a dream job: getting to travel to these gorgeous destinations, and getting paid to do it!
It did not suck at all. It is one of those things that everyone says, “It must be the best job in the world.” But after a few years, I did find myself fatigued from all the travel and I actually asked to come off the road. It was also lonely; you might spend three days in these big giant houses and not encounter a human.
Of all the places you’ve visited, either for work or pleasure, which has been your favorite?
The first time I experienced the Caribbean water, I completely and totally fell in love with it. That first time I was in Anguilla. I was there on a four day shoot and it was kind of grueling, because it was super hot, the homes were gigantic and it was just very exhausting. I’d only carved out 30 minutes for myself to go to the beach.
But I still think about that moment: when I got in the water and I was the only person on this perfect white sand beach that stretched for two and a half miles, and it was like swimming in jewels. It’s such a vivid memory that anytime I daydream, it’s the first place I go.
Travel is not so much about the place as it is about how the people shape the place. At this point, almost every corner of the planet has been overtaken by mankind to some degree. Humans being the primary driver of what happens in those places makes for a really interesting story.
That sounds absolutely breathtaking. How does that experience continue to inspire you in your work today?
The attitude towards community in the Caribbean is something that I haven’t experienced here stateside. And when you layer the culture on top of the environment and nature, it’s really inspiring.
That aspect is the main reason I’ve stayed at Inspirato. Our focus on culture and community, coupled with amazing places and experiences, draws a lot of parallels.
That’s interesting because most people find the Caribbean memorable for the scenic views and white sand beaches. But for you it’s more about the culture and lifestyle.
To me, that has been the core part about travel. It’s not so much about the place as it is about how the people shape the place. At this point, almost every corner of the planet has been overtaken by mankind to some degree. Humans being the primary driver of what happens in those places makes for a really interesting story.
What’s your favorite medium for artistic and creative expression?
Making and eating food. The kitchen is my happy place. It’s grown out of Inspirato’s concept of traveling to places that are homes instead of hotels, because we have these incredibly well-equipped kitchens at these homes.
When I go on vacation with Inspirato, it’s always kind of food-oriented. There are always places where you can get amazing food and ingredients that you might not find elsewhere, or things that are just way more authentic, interesting or fresh.
That’s what drives my decision to go on vacation somewhere, visiting places with vineyards or produce or markets unique to the area.
Thanks so much for letting us tell your story, Joe.
Yes, of course! Marketing is about storytelling, so I like to tell stories and participate in them.