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Think Beach!

The Everyday Getaway

By Abigail Ryan | Photography by Gray Malin

Dreams start with a vision, a passion, and a desire to achieve a goal. When Gray Malin picked up his first camera in high school, he knew his inspiration. He longed to make people stop and smile and not think about the worries of life. Little did the Dallas native know, but that inspiration would lead to his becoming a New York Times best-selling author and a world-renowned photographer.

Malin moved from Dallas to attend Emerson College in Boston, and he packed up his belongings to head west to sunny Los Angeles shortly after graduating with a degree in marketing and photography. He landed an internship at Paramount, meanwhile selling his photographs in West Hollywood for sixty-five dollars a print. This venture soon earned him a reputation, and collectors began to take notice. By 2013, he launched GrayMalin.com and started selling his prints of sunny beaches, palm trees, and other vignettes that certainly make people stop and smile.

Now known for breathtaking aerial photographs of beaches around the world, Malin has described his style as “conceptual, yet approachable.” His work intends to welcome the viewer into the experience. The idea is never to intimidate them or make them feel excluded from his work. Malin says, “I want the viewers to feel joy!”

Initially, Malin’s aerial photography started with the idea of photographing swimming pools and beaches from above. “It all began with my first flight to Miami,” he says. “My attention became transfixed on the beach. From above, the people with their umbrellas and towels created patterns that are eye-catching and unique in that they are mere moments in time that can never be captured again. After seeing the results of that shoot, I was hooked and quickly followed up with trips to Australia, Rio, Dubai, and Europe.”

Through the years, Malin has pushed his limits as an artist. He is continually physically pushing himself to go outside the box and venture off to new destinations around the world. “I’m inspired by my environment, so it’s a bit of an obsession to see as much as I possibly can, as I never know what might grab my attention,” says Malin. “I’ve always been galvanized to create work that looks great as decor inside a home.”

“I’m inspired by my environment, so it’s a bit of an obsession to see as much as I possibly can, as I never know what might grab my attention,” says Malin.

When Malin set out to build his brand, he knew the importance of being himself, no matter where the job might lead. Even when collaborators were knocking at the door, he only took what he felt best represented him. “I love hosting at home, so acrylic trays and coasters were a natural progression into the home decor products,” he explains. “I’ve also always loved Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes, so I reached out to them and created the first Sperry x Gray Malin shoe collection. Same goes with Veuve Clicquot and many more.” Even now, Malin is eager to grow his brand. His vision is to create authentic and exciting lifestyle products that will allow patrons to live the essence of his motto: “Make every day feel like a getaway.” Interior decorating and traveling are both major passions of his, so it seems fitting that those arenas are also part of his brand.

Along with selling his photographs and home accessories, Malin has also explored the world of publishing. Commemorating his largest aerial series, À la Plage, Malin produced his first art photography book, Beaches. “It was something that I aspired to do from the beginning, so to make it into a realization was completely surreal,” he admits. “For me, I saw the book as an opportunity to let people who already know my work in on a larger level, as well as an amazing introduction to those who don’t know it.” Malin’s second book, Escape, brings together a collection of breathtaking images from his aerial and conceptual series, journal entries, and behind-the-scenes anecdotes. “It’s an amazing follow-up for any fan of Beaches, as it provides the readers with a more in-depth look into many different bodies of work I’ve created.”

“For me, I saw the book as an opportunity to let people who already know my work in on a larger level, as well as an amazing introduction to those who don’t know it.”

Earlier this year, Malin introduced the latest addition to his assortment of publications, Be Our Guest! The inspiration behind this book came from the photo series Gray Malin at the Parker, which features a whimsical collection of circus animals including a monkey, an elephant, a lion, and more, all in colorful settings around the Parker Palm Springs hotel. “As I released the collection over the course of three years, I was delighted to see how pieces from this series were being used as children’s room and nursery decor,” says Malin. Following this discovery, the idea to turn the collection into a children’s book only seemed right. Appealing to men and women of all ages and walks of life, this photographic book brings a smile to everyone’s face. “My favorite part of this book is seeing all the children reading it and enjoying it! It has been such a joy seeing the positive response I’ve received. It brings me to tears seeing photos and videos of engaged children exploring the pages within the book.”

“My favorite part of this book is seeing all the children reading it and enjoying it! It has been such a joy seeing the positive response I’ve received.

Among the many series Malin has completed throughout his career, we were curious to see which one he would claim as his favorite: “My most recent private collection series, Art of Living, was a tremendous undertaking,” he says. “Shot in Bora Bora, which is definitely one of the most beautiful places in the world, the concept was to create a juxtaposition of organic beauty with man-made designs. To accomplish it, we worked with local engineers to build a fifteen-by-fifteen-foot mirrored platform; we also shipped all of the midcentury modern furniture utilized in the series to the location. It was a lot of work, but the results were well worth it.” The results are breathtaking.

Recently, Malin completed his largest shoot to date at the Beverly Hills Hotel. This project was inspired by Malin’s interpretation of Hollywood’s Golden Era. Be on the lookout for more about this collection coming soon!

— V —

To learn more about Gray Malin or to purchase products and prints from his collections, visit GrayMalin.com.

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