January 27, 2023

Xanax Buy

We build tomorrow

Photographers Are Becoming In-Demand Product Designers, Too

Become an AD PRO Member

Buy now for unlimited access and all of the benefits that only members get to experience.


Interior design and fine art curation are inextricably linked professions. In this image-saturated world, a certain type of cross-disciplinary collaboration is gaining ground. Photographers are stepping out from behind the scenes and mining their established relationships with interior designers to create new goods and product lines.

At the movement’s pinnacle is Gray Malin, the fine art photographer known for his color-saturated aerial imagery of scenes with an implied “wish you were here” siren call. It’s therefore not surprising that in addition to commissions with hotels such as the Mauna Kea, the Little Nell in Aspen, and the Beverly Hills Hotel, he’s collaborated with home brands including Serena & Lily and Diane James Home. “Interior design has been a lifelong passion of mine and being able to incorporate it into my business has been a dream,” Malin tells AD PRO. Like his other design partnerships, his latest product with Cloth & Company, a line of outdoor pillows that follows the duo’s kids’ furniture collection, is much softer and more tactile than his signature medium—and not a photographically literal application.

Gray Malin, sitting among his new line of outdoor pillows with Cloth & Company.

Courtesy of Cloth & Company

“When I began expanding my photography to home decor products, I started to think big and push the limits of how my artwork could translate to design-based collaborations and products,” Malin explains. “I realized that my brand and my eye for design could translate into larger collaborations where the design was inspired by my images and really brought my art to life in a new way.” For the throw pillow collection with Cloth & Company, Malin designed a series of fabrics emblazoned with patterns inspired by the beach, palm trees, umbrellas, pool floats, and other symbols of summer leisure.

Meanwhile, Robert Malmberg, who relocated last year from New York City to his family’s home base of Pensacola, Florida, developed in earnest a concept he had long casually considered. Malmberg was unimpressed with most photographic wallpapers he’d seen. So, the slower pace of pandemic life was the right time to focus on creating a line using his own source material. From there, he tapped into his network of interior designers for whom he had produced fine art prints to provide feedback.

“This project was a perfect match because my archives are so deep,” shares Malmberg of the thousands of still-life images, travel vignettes, landscapes, and other material from which he draws. “My wallpaper patterns are inspired by the collage work I do, and it’s a creative outlet for that,” he adds. So far, Malmberg offers 11 patterns in various colorways, each digitally printed on a nonwoven vellum and made to order to allow for custom scale and color requests.

Robert Malmberg holding the Distraction print from his debut collection of wallpaper.

Courtesy of Malmberg Studio

A number of other photographers offering their creative lenses to product design suggest the dynamic may be more than simply a trend. Henzel recently debuted a throw-pillow line with images by prominent names in contemporary art and photography, including Marilyn Minter and Juergen Teller. Photographer Ilan Rubin, who has extensively shot for Knoll and other commercial clients, partnered with Downing Frame to design a collection of apple boxes, and rug purveyor Kyle Bunting tapped Douglas Friedman to collaborate on a six-piece collection last year.

The branching out and stretching of creative muscles into other relevant fields can be fruitful for those who straddle the commercial and fine art worlds. Malmberg notes the opportunities that exist for the fine photographer in the home category: “There’s a great cross-pollination.”