Gray Malin photographs sites most travelers never see. That's because the L.A. photographer creates his own vision of places around the world and then goes to work with his camera.
"My work is a far cry from Apple computer screen savers," Malin says. "I want to create work that makes someone feel joy, and stop for just a moment and escape to that destination."
The Follow Me campaign, as it's called, will join Malin's photos in a video art installation that sometimes features stills and sometimes features video clips of the photographer at work.
And the photos extend to hotel key cards. Each will bear one of Malin's images, which guests may take with them.
Malin's subjects vary widely, from wide aerial shots of seaside bathers and skiers on slopes that make you want to jump into the frame. Then there are the ones that take you completely by surprise: Polo players in the snow in St. Moritz, Switzerland and llamas in the desert covered in balloons ... you get the idea.
When Malin was visiting Le Meridien Ra Beach Hotel near Barcelona and took a brief tour of the property, he saw the potential in the hotel's pool from the roof.
"I thought, 'How fun would this be if it were covered in inner tubes?' " Malin says. The sketch he made of his photographic vision led to Le Meridien creating 1,000 inner tubes in different colors. And the whimsical photos flowed.
Malin's work will start appearing as video art installations in hotel lobbies, including Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica at 530 Pico Blvd., over the next few weeks. Images will change depending on the time of day and will feature destinations such as Bhutan; Dubai; Split, Croatia; the Seychelles, and others.
In May, his photographs of exotic animals on the grounds of Le Parker Meridien Palm Springs will debut and will be integrated into the video too.
Malin says he'll continue touring the world, taking pictures and uploading them to the Follow Me collection.
For those who want to play along, you can enter this contest. Take a creative travel shot and share it on
Malin will judge entries April 15 and pick a winner. The grand prize is 250,000 StarPoints, which can be exchanged for hotel stays in the Starwood loyalty program. Runners-up will receive signed prints from Malin.