Plus his go-to beach, cocktail, and summer uniform.
Known for his eye-catching aerial photographs of far-flung beaches and coastal locales, Gray Malin has teamed up with Sperry to create a second collection of sand and beach-splashed shoes, which can be found on both Sperry and Gray Malin’s websites. These suede slip-ons boast pastel summer scenes and are a pretty fun way to add some print to this season's wardrobe. We caught up with Gray to chat about his new collection, how he finds inspiration, and a few of his summer favorites.
Coastal Living: How did you get started in aerial photography?
Gray Malin: Oddly enough, the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas was where it all began. We were staying in a beautiful top-floor room that had a bird's eye view of the giant swimming pool below. It was filled with hotel guests, and I snapped an image that eventually became my computer screensaver. After months of staring at this sparkling aqua-colored pool, the idea hit me to continue creating work from this perspective. The beach subject first began above the shores of Miami during Art Basel in 2011, quickly followed with trips to Australia, Rio, Dubai, and Europe in 2012 and 2013. I was hooked on this project from the beginning, and it has been a total whirlwind since!
CL: What do you look for when you're photographing a beach?
GM: From above, the people with their umbrellas and towels create patterns that are eye-catching and beautiful compositions. I also love that each flight is unique—I am capturing mere moments in time that can never be captured exactly the same again.
CL: What are you wearing with your Sperrys this summer?
GM: Everything! They really are the perfect addition to the summer wardrobe. I have a pair of white jeans from Scotch and Soda that have already been getting a good amount of wear since I bought them at Easter. I’m sure I’ll be rotating all three styles with them quite a bit.
CL: What’s your go-to summer cocktail?
GM: Nothing beats a glass of champagne. I am currently loving Veuve Clicquot Rich served on ice. It’s perfect for a hot summer day.
CL: What’s your all-time favorite beach?
GM: There are so many to choose from but my forever favorite are the beaches of Cape Town, South Africa. Then, my most recent favorite is Byron Bay, Australia. This boho-beach town is the perfect mix of surf and leisure with epic views. It really stole my heart.
CL: How do you describe your personal style?
GM: East Coast.
CL: What’s your summer ritual?
GM: Summer is my busiest time of year actually, as I’m usually traveling and creating new work. We also host quite a few big summer sales, like our 30% off all beach aerials during the July 4th holiday. Naturally, I manage to have plenty of fun along the way, but I think my summer ritual might be a bit abnormal to most. Definitely not complaining, though!
CL: What’s one place you haven’t photographed that you would love to do?
GM: There are quite a few, but off hand, I’d definitely like to explore New Zealand and Morocco.
CL: What about the beach inspires you most?
GM: I believe the beach is a universal experience, regardless of where it is located; it’s a place that makes people feel relaxed and happy. Whether the viewer is observing a beach they grew up going to or perhaps a luxurious beach destination they aspire to travel to, I hope my photography inspires people to make every day a getaway.
Shoe images courtesy of Sperry. Photography images courtesy of Gray Malin.