The Inspiration Behind Travel Photographer Gray Malin’s Photographs

Malin Nantucket
Surfside Beach, Nantucket

Malin Portrait

The eye catching images of Gray Malin’s photographs have made him an international name among art aficionados. The photographer documents travel hot spots around the world, always with color sensibility and a new perspective. Beaches, a coffee-table collection of his work, became a New York Times best-seller when it hit stands last spring. We talked to the artist about his photographs, his travels and what’s on the horizon for 2017.

When did you first start taking photos?
What was your first camera?

I can’t remember the exact first time I began but I was definitely a youngster. As for my first camera, it was a Nikon.

Malin Kauai Beach
Kauai Beach with Grass

Where do you find your inspiration for your series?
I find inspiration anywhere and everywhere. It’s really hard to determine one place in particular. Some concepts take years of planning while some take only months, but regardless of the time frame, all of my collections have their own personality and stories that aim to be timeless. Each concept ignites an adventure; traversing the globe to bring my inspired visions to life with the ultimate goal of hanging an incredible moment on one’s wall to be enjoyed for years to come.

Do you have a favorite spot in the world that you prefer to photograph?
Cape Town and surrounding wine regions. It’s seriously one of my favorite places on earth with the beautiful beaches, incredible wine and food, and inspiration at every turn.

Malin Beach Ball Bay
Beach Ball Bay

Where is the next spot you’d like to photograph?
I have a few trips planned for 2017 to add to my Aerial Mountain series, so I’ll be traveling to some of the world’s top destination for ski and snow.

What do you want people to take away from your photographs?
It’s about capturing a moment in time that evokes a sense of adventure and joy. Whether it’s a place that you have fond memories of, or it’s a dream getaway destination, to have a piece of artwork that takes you there just by looking at your wall is a pretty incredible thing, don’t you think?

Gray Malin Helicopter
Gray Malin behind the scenes boarding a helicopter to Spain

What artist inspires you?
André Kertész was the first photographer whose work really moved me when I was young. I had the chance to see an exhibition of his in Paris a few years later and I remember thinking I just had to be a professional photographer one day.

If you could live in any era, which time period would you choose?
I would probably live in the early 1960s; a time when men wore suits to fly and air travel was for the true jet-setters. There is something very pure and glamorous about that time.

Malin Barcelona
Barcelona Vertical

Where do you go to get away and recharge from work?
I love to recharge at home. I travel so much for work, it’s really a joy to simply spend some time at home and sleep in my own bed.

Malin Llamas
Llamas lucite tray, $295

Talk about your work outside of photography.
I am very proud of my acrylic trays, which launched in October of 2016. They are the premiere item for my home collection and we’ll be releasing new styles seasonally. January of this year marks the launch of the Gray Malin travel tags, which are made of super soft leather and inspired by the key phrases of “I AM BUSY,” “GETAWAY” and “ESCAPE.” Then, there are lots of new and ongoing products as well as collaborations. I’m very excited for each one of them to roll out throughout the year.

Malin Luggage Tags
Getaway, I Am Busy and Escape leather luggage tags, $49 each

What is your favorite beach?
Okay, this is an impossible question but I will answer it in a few ways:
Most alive and vivacious: Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro
Most fabulous: La Fontelina Beach Club in Capri
Most gorgeous from above: Bondi Beach in Sydney
Most underrated: Cascais in Portugal

Malin Tennis
Tennis Lesson

What was it like creating a book of your work? 
It was incredible creating the book as it’s the embodiment of a huge part of my work, my À la Plage series. It was also an amazing opportunity to introduce new people to my work .

What’s on the horizon for you in 2017?
I’ll be shooting my third and final installment of my series, Gray Malin at the Parker. This series has been a truly magical one to create and I am excited to release the new images in June.

Photographs by Gray Malin, graymalin.com

Written by Judy Koutsky