Venice Simplon-Orient Express, As Seen By Coco Capitán

Words by Belmond Editors

Venice Simplon-Orient Express, As Seen By Coco Capitán

Capitán's photographic journey on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express captures the timeless experience of slow travel – join the Spanish artist on a voyage through Europe.

Since graduating from London’s Royal College of Art with an MA in Photography in 2016, Coco Capitán’s creative output has been staggering. Whether it’s a cheeky look at the raw human form in the 2017 collection ‘Bums & Tums’, or musing on how we need to press pause on life’s endless rush — reflected in the knowing title of 2019 exhibition ‘Busy living everything with everyone, everywhere’ — the artist’s vision is impossible to generalize. She likes sailing, she likes nudity, she likes aphoristic scribbles: she will not be put in a box.

But this multihyphenate writer–photographer–designer–painter–sculptor is always drawn to one kernel of truth: the power of unexpected encounters and human connection. She is the perfect creative partner, then, to bring to life the intimacy and electrifying rendezvous for which the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is famed.

The legendary train is renowned for its time-honoured journeys through Europe. The moment it departs from a historical city, passengers are transported to a world of refined beauty and leisurely exploration. Coco Capitán's photographic immersion captures the decadent experience that can be found through the historic carriages, reflected by depictions of friends and stewards and how they interact with the train.

Capitán’s trademark wit and considered outlook — both written and implied throughout her body of work — on the deluge of daily life makes her vision of ‘slow travel’ aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express even more compelling. Her playful style showcases the opulence of this unique train but with a relaxed aura. The casual scenes she captures create an intriguing thematic contrast with the glamorous and hedonistic nature of the locomotive itself; the expressions of Capitán’s friends and muses are almost inscrutable, their sense of ease giving a feeling of comfort among all the opulence.

This is not her first photographic project on a train: Capitán’s journey aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway for Louis Vuitton’s ‘Fashion Eye’ series was an altogether moodier piece coursing with introspection. This new journey, by contrast, captures a sense of pure joy. She showcases the diverse and beautiful landscapes of the Old Continent while passengers come and go, creating memorable moments and forming new friendships. Her unique perspective captures fleeting moments, showcasing the evanescent time celebrated within our midnight blue carriages.

Stylish guests pause by the baby grand piano in the Bar Car, dressed to impress and poised to share moments of conviviality. Basking in the spirit of revelry and celebration, on the cusp of creating new intrigues and memories. They lounge on the crisp linen of a double bed within a Grand Suite, at one with the heritage marquetry. They sit serene by Lalique glass in a dining car, anticipating the culinary savoir-faire of chef Jean Imbert.

This iconic train is not just a mode of transportation but an experience that celebrates the poetry of travel, inviting one to indulge in the journey and savour every moment along the way. Coco Capitán's photographs beautifully showcase the sense of opulence and adventure of this legendary train. Through her lens, we are reminded of the importance of taking the time to truly immerse ourselves in the journey and the people we meet along the way.


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