Waves of Delight

Fine art photographer Gray Malin shares his unbounded love of sand and surf in a new retrospective book.
The crystal-clear waters of La Fontelina in Capri. Photography by Grey Malin

By Julia Szabo

From 19th-century paintings by Monet and Manet to the modern mastery of Hockney and Katz, the beach beckons artists and art aficionados alike. Taking his rightful place among famously creative beachcombers is fine art photographer Gray Malin, whose acclaimed “Prada Marfa” “was the first work of Marfa-inspired art I purchased during the eight years I spent working on Marfa Contemporary,” says collector and connoisseur Christian Keesee. “He has the unique ability to make every day seem sunny. While other photographers see the unusual, the dark or the morbid, Gray’s eyes turn immediately to the bright, happy and well-adjusted. He captures moments I’d like to find myself in.”

Sunbathers take in the rays at Eden Rock in Monterosso, Italy. Photography by Grey Malin


A sea of peachy umbrellas on Italy’s Positano Beach. Photography by Grey Malin

Movies transport us to distant shores of the imagination, and Malin’s portfolio likewise reveals a mastery of his medium on par with Tinseltown’s greatest cinematographers—no accident, as he previously worked in the film industry. “My time in Hollywood made me realize my true passion was actually photography,” Malin says. “It was amazing being surrounded by so many creative people while in the film industry, but ultimately I left due to the fact that I wanted to pursue my own independent path in photography, and create artwork that could bring joy and escapism into people’s homes every day.”

An aerial view of an East Hampton beach. Photography by Grey Malin

Now, a new hardcover book, Gray Malin: The Essential Collection (Abrams), compiles Malin’s irresistible imagery. The 351-page gallery lets beachcombing art appreciators visit and revisit Malin’s sunny beaches whenever the spirit moves them. He’s photographed sandy shores from Sydney to Cape Town to Capri to his most-prized Hamptons: “I love heading out to Montauk for a beach day at Gurney’s, or Navy Beach for happy hour,” he says. “I also love riding bikes to dinner, or strolling the streets of the different towns with an ice cream cone in hand. I always have an incredible experience while in the Hamptons, from the atmosphere, to the beaches to the food—everything is truly a dream.” graymalin.com