Photography by Gray Malin
Known for his aerial photography which you may have seen on the back of your friend's iPhone or on a pair of Orlebar Brown swim trunks, Gray Malin has joined with Le Méridien hotels for a new partnership that will bring his travel-inspiring and colorful vision to the Paris-born hotel brand while further unlocking property destinations for hotel guests.
Simply dubbed Follow Me, through the global art collaboration Le Méridien hotel hubs (lobbies) will feature videos of 24-hour visual journeys from at least five different destinations Malin will have traveled to this year to inspire guests.
"It's a fun way to kick-off this campaign because not only can you follow all the adventures I've been on around the world, but now you can come into a Le Méridien, see them in the lobby and be inspired and have a moment just like you would go to a museum for," Malin says, while visiting the Le Parker Méridien New York overlooking Central Park — social media art enthusiasts might have come across his shoe selfie hovering over the park.
"What inspires me to travel is truly that it fosters greater creativity," he explains. "The more that I see and can touch and hear, the better I am as an artist — in terms of what I can visualize and imagine. It windiness your mind."
Malin's notable series was shot in his home-state of Texas, which featured Prada Marfa's collection of sculptures and other artworks. He's since traveled the rest of the globe from Antarctica and Bolivia to shoot, and he was most recently in St. Moritz, Switzerland, to photograph snow polo. His travels with Le Méridien have brought him to Bhutan, Dubai, Split in Croatia and the Seychelles. The partnership kicked off with his journey in Spain at the Le Méridien Ra Beach & Spa Resort located in El Vendrell. The first series of photos released as part of the partnership feature shots (such as the one pictured above) overlooking a salt water pond that's on the property.
While in Spain, Malin came across colorful inner tubes and thought to himself, What if we can design an inner tube that pays homage to classic lifesaver design. That led to the creation of 1,000 of them in five different colors. Photos from the set — one which features an aerial shot of a woman in a straw hat relaxing in a pale green lifesaver in the pool reading while surround by contrasting, empty yellow inner tubes — will be appearing on Le Méridien room key cards, making them a piece of art and a room key card collector must-have.
SLIDESHOW | Behind the Scenes with Gray Malin
Le Méridien also will feature Malin’s Follow Me journey online and will develop an exclusive line of Le Méridien x Gray Malin merchandise to launch later this year—with work from the Follow Me collection available for purchase at GrayMalin.com. New and old fans of Le Méridien and Gray Malin are welcomed to engage on social media using the hashtag #FollowGray, and encouraged to enter a contest to when a dream adventure inspired Malin's travels. In order to enter, guests must share an original image on Instagram while following LeMeridienHotels and GrayMalin, and using the hashtag #FollowGrayContest. Malin will judge the entries on April 15, 2015. The Grand Prize Winner will receive 250,000 StarPoints, useable at any Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide property. A couple of new properties include the Element Frankfurt, W Bogota, and Le Méridien New Orleans.
Andrew Villagomez (Vee Travels) is a travel and fashion lifestyle journalist, blogger and photographer. Follow him as @VeeTravels on Instagram and Twitter.