Parasols and Pastels in Bermuda
28 February, 2019
At the top of the fine art photographer Gray Malin's website you'll find the slogan "Make every day a getaway". Whether parasols or pastels, vintage cars or cowboys, a getaway is precisely what his photography provides, granting brief respite from the barrage of painful, albeit necessary, images we are used to seeing on the daily news. "Escapism is a large part of my work," Malin confirms. "Whether via a moment on the beach, strolling your favourite park or a fanciful world with exotic animals and balloons, I aspire to create work that a person wants to step into and enjoy."
His second book, Escape, features over 20 destinations that showcase the boundless beauty of the world around us. "I'm typically striving for a feeling of timelessness," Malin admits. In locations as varied as New York, Bora Bora and Antarctica, his photography celebrates the harmony between nature and humanity, depicting intimacy in a world that can at times seem devoid of it. With a combination of wit and skill he successfully captures the joyful simplicity that evades many.
"There are specific collections that are very much inspired by a particular era, thus naturally evoking nostalgia," Malin explains. This reflective angle remains a common theme throughout his work. As well as using his own memories as a source of inspiration, much of the photographer's work reflects on the history and experiences of others.
Through visiting friends in Bermuda as a child, Malin had the opportunity to see the island from the perspective of a local and experience its rich history. "Bermuda has a unique blend of British and American culture that I've always found fascinating. I wanted to create something that was reflective of the luxe, yet completely inviting way of life there." As a result Malin shot Bermuda, an innately nostalgic series showcasing the Bermudian way of life that simultaneously pays homage to its colourful past.
With its muted colours and vintage fashion, the Bermuda series seems almost wistful for an earlier time. "It's interesting to compare nostalgia and optimism, as nostalgia looks to the past whereas optimism faces the future," Malin notes. "But, distinction aside, I feel they are most certainly linked, as both are rooted in positive emotions."
However, the photographer acknowledges his use of "creative interpretation of one particular time or another, from my own modern point of view". His work reflects an acceptance of the past and an acknowledgement of its romantic appeal, but from a modern, forward-looking perspective.
The Bermuda series evokes comparisons with the late photographer Slim Aarons. "I am a huge admirer of Slim Aarons, so I consider it a compliment to hear comparisons," Malin admits. "Bermuda oozes luxury yet has a relaxed vibe to it that Slim managed to convey so famously with images of beautiful people living their lives in beautiful places." His own source of inspiration, however, comes from a place of personal nostalgia. "My true inspiration is my own grandparents. They were able to travel the world while documenting their life with photography. I love flipping through the countless photo albums and am constantly inspired by the way they lived so joyfully."