While our wanderlust means we'd prefer to be lounging on a beach somewhere, our bank accounts aren't always as agreeable, but that doesn't mean we can't still dream. Gray Malin has answered our call with his aerial imagery that takes you on a whimsical vacation without leaving home. Malin's work will transport you to the world's most luxurious coastlines, from seaside snaps in Sydney to the colorful umbrella-lined shore of Positano, but his latest project is a walk on the wild side.
The Los Angeles–based photographer has joined forces with the Jonathan Adler–designed Parker Palm Springs to shoot his second collaboration. The stars of this collection are the subjects: a tiger casually roaming through the famous lemonade stand, a lion wearing a paper crown in the garden, raccoons playing in the foyer's hanging chairs, and a camel strolling elegantly through the Parker halls. Clearly, the stylish snapper had a roaring good time working with the gentle giants. Read on for his behind-the-scenes account of what happened on set, how they put a paper crown on a lion, and his personal favorites from the collection.
MYDOMAINE: Why did you want to collaborate with the Parker Palm Springs?
GRAY MALIN: Parker Palm Springs is one of my personal favorite hotels. Its playful grounds embody the perfect weekend escape, and I wanted to create a series that allowed people to live at the Parker every day but in an artful and whimsical way. A few years ago, I was introduced to the property's publicist, Marisa Zafran, and had the chance to explain my vision to her. She has been a wonderful friend in helping me bring this collection to life.
MD: What was it like working with animals?
GM: Working with these animals was a complete adventure and joy. The challenge is they don't speak English. All kidding aside, these are wild animals who don't necessarily respond to direction, but that's what's so fun about it too. There were, of course, multiple professional trainers on hand the entire time, so I felt completely comfortable knowing they were being taken care of in a respectful way while I photographed them.
MD: We love the shot of the tiger at the famous lemonade stand. How did you get everyone to clear the areas where you were shooting?
GM: We had a lot of help from the Parker Palm Springs staff and security. The tiger is clearly an animal that everyone needs to be cautious around, so we made sure the shot was done safely, and I couldn't be happier with the results.
MD: In one image you have the lion wearing a paper crown; how is that possible?
GM: Very carefully! Again, these animals are professionals. We worked with Hollywood animals on both shoots, and their trainers are fantastic. The lion's trainer took special care and patience to put the crown on. The trainer explained that the crown was so light that the lion would barely be able to feel it through his thick mane.
MD: One of the most iconic shots in the collection is the camel wearing Hermès boxes in front of the hotel's famous orange door. How did this photo came about?
GM: As crazy as it sounds, I actually had a dream about it. I've been collecting the Hermès boxes for quite a while now, and I've wanted to incorporate them into my work somehow, and then voilà, it came to me. You can actually watch me setting this shot up in our behind-the-scenes video, which is pretty humorous to see.
MD: Do you have a personal favorite from the collection?
GM: I would have to say from the first round, I will always love Welcome to the Parker With Tiny the Giraffe. The shot just came together so perfectly with the colors and the beautiful entrance to the Parker Palm Springs. For the same reason, I might have to go with The Porter I or Welcome Back to the Parker as my latest favorites.
I love how versatile this series is. With the first installment of "Gray Malin at the Parker," I loved seeing how people decorated them from the home bar to the living room, their nurseries, and kids' rooms. I cannot wait to see what rooms the second installment makes it way into.
Shop Malin's favorites and more from the latest Parker Palm Springs collaboration below.