When some folks travel, they bring back gifts of snow globes and well-intentioned, ill-fitting tees. When esteemed lifestyle photographer Gray Malin traipses around the world, he brings back exquisite, enviable images that make you want to pack your suitcase and get exploring stat.
Many of Gray Malin's works master the dazzling bird's-eye-view perspective — Photo courtesy of Le Méridien
Gray Malin dazzles his audiences by capturing simple moments in perspective-shifting ways; so far, his search for beauty has taken him from Antarctica to the Bolivian salt flats and beyond. Best known for revealing a bird's-eye-view of some of the world’s most popular beaches, Malin has worked with some of the industry's greats like David LaChapelle, and his images have been printed in leading publications like Elle, Details, House Beautiful and Domino magazine.
Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts recently teamed up with the travel-obsessed shutterbug for a campaign called "Follow Me," a project in which Malin brings his journey to life through a series of shoots in alluring destinations like Palm Springs, Spain and Bhutan. Worldwide Le Méridien properties now display a 24-hour reel of these breathtaking shots plus behind-the-scenes video footage. In essence, guests get to traverse the globe before leaving the hotel. (Prepare to be wowed.)
The photographer's all smiles perched high above the landscape — Photo courtesy of Le Méridien
We recently caught up with the on-the-move talent to get an inside glimpse of life on the road (and in the air).
Q: When did you first pick up a camera?
A: I discovered photography in high school and immediately fell in love with the experience of shooting and developing images in the darkroom. My grandfather and father both enjoyed photography as a hobby, so I was naturally drawn to the art form.
Q: What is it you love about shooting from a bird's-eye perspective?
A: From above, a simple landscape becomes a blank canvas that allows me to start seeing the world as art. People and objects become patterns creating repetition, shape and form.
Q: When and where did you first travel abroad?
A: I first traveled abroad in college when I studied in the Netherlands. I traveled all over Europe shooting black-and-white film images of many inspirational locations. It certainly sparked an interest in travel photography and has carried over to my career today.
Stunning settings abound in Malin's global images — Photo courtesy of Le Méridien
Q: How many countries will you visit total for your collaboration with Le Méridien?
A: With my collaboration with Le Méridien, I will be visiting six countries this year including Spain, Bhutan, Croatia, the UAE and the Seychelles.
Q: Why did you decide to work with Le Méridien on the 'Follow Me’ campaign?
A: The concept began because I am constantly traversing the globe to bring inspired visions to life and thanks to social media, my audience has been able to literally 'follow me' on my adventures. Therefore we curated a partnership inspired by arrows and other playful elements of classic design that are meant to entice the audience to not only follow along during this partnership, but also engage to win opportunities to share in similar experiences.
Overall, my partnership with Le Méridien is a great fit because we both strive to be more than what we appear. My work is more than just a photograph; it's a shared moment in time inviting everyone to an adventurous lifestyle and the idea that everyday can be a getaway. Le Méridien is more than a hotel; it's a destination for the curious-minded traveler who seeks to explore destinations with a creative mind.
Q: What has been the most wonderful thing about this partnership with Le Méridien? The most challenging? The most surprising?
A: The most wonderful thing about our partnership is that Le Méridien values my creative process and doesn't limit my ideas, but rather encourages them. The most challenging part is traveling to foreign locales that I have not been to before; it requires quite a lot of research before the trip. The most surprising thing about the partnership is the friendship that's developed between the global leaders of Le Méridien and my own team. We have all become rather close.
Q: How do you prepare to shoot a certain destination? How much involves pre-trip research versus on-the-ground inspiration?
A: The preparation can be very challenging, but I like to have plan A and plan B since things can change quickly when you're on the ground. I do extensive research before any shoot and try to arrive as prepared as possible.
Malin's work requires some living on the edge — Photo courtesy of Le Méridien
Q: What do you hope your viewers take away from the images you create?
A: Inspiration! I am inspired to inspire others in some way, no matter how small.
Q: How do you stay grounded with life "on the road"–consecutive weeks/months away while adventuring around the globe?
A: I won't lie...it's definitely a challenge but I have an amazing team in Los Angeles who I can rely on and a lovely husband and pup at home who are only a FaceTime chat away.
Q: What dream assignment have you yet to achieve?
A: It would be pretty cool to shoot a project from outer space one day!
It's all in a day's work for this talented photographer — Photo courtesy of Le Méridien