"Be Our Guest!" at Gray Malin's Hotel Circus Extravaganza

Seira Wilson on May 11, 2018

BeOurGuest225.jpgGray Malin is already widely known for his gorgeous photography of beaches and far flung places but when he decided to do a book using the Parker Palm Springs hotel as the setting, and wild animals as his subjects, Malin chose a children's picture book as his medium. Why, you might ask? 

Once you get a look at this unique getaway location and Malin's fanciful vision it all makes sense.  But don't take my word for it--below, Malin answers a few questions about Be Our Guest! and you can see a couple of sample pages from this delightful new book.

*Be Our Guest! is an editors' pick for the Best Children's Books of May

Seira Wilson: Why did you decide to publish your Parker Palm Springs hotel photos as a children’s book?

Gray Malin: For me, the Parker Palm Springs is a fantasyland for those young and old, but the series I created there truly brings out one’s inner child. The images tap into one's imagination, so it was very instinctive to translate them into a children's book.

When did you first visit the Parker Palm Springs hotel for vacation and what drew you to it in the first place?

I think the first time I ever visited the Parker Palm Springs was in 2011.  I was immediately captivated by the hotel’s beautiful grounds. I knew right away that I wanted to create a series with it as my muse. Then, as luck would have it, a few years later I was able to make that dream a reality.

What made you envision Be Our Guest! as a children’s picture book?

As I released the collection, Gray Malin at the Parker, I enjoyed seeing how so many people opted to decorate their children's rooms with their favorite prints from the series. The idea of parlaying it into a children's book quickly followed, as it just felt so natural and appropriate. However, I truly think the book appeals to all ages, as it's a fun story combined with artistic photography.

What was the biggest challenge putting the shoot together, and how did your expectations vary from the reality?

The main challenge was that these are wild animals who don't necessarily respond to direction. However, that also made it fun and unpredictable, because I went in with a vision, which just kept expanding in new and unexpected ways. There were numerous trained handlers on site the entire time, which made the entire process much easier, as well as insured the animals were protected and respected with the utmost regard.

Has Be Our Guest! inspired your next project?

Be Our Guest! was a completely new experience for me, as writing a children’s book is a very different process than my two other books, BEACHES and ESCAPE. I’m constantly inspired to do more, so it’s only a matter of time where that light will spark for what’s next!

Sample Pages from Be Our Guest!:



You'll spot these images and a couple more in the back of the book--outtakes from what looks like the most fun photo shoot ever...



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