Life's a Beach

Dallas photographer Steve Wrubel's fanciful obsession evokes a vacation state of mind


29 Palms, Steve Wrubel
Photo by Steve Wrubel
29 Palms, Steve Wrubel
Photo by Steve Wrubel
29 Palms, Steve Wrubel
Photo by Steve Wrubel
29 Palms, Steve Wrubel
Photo by Steve Wrubel
29 Palms, Steve Wrubel
Photo by Steve Wrubel
29 Palms, Steve Wrubel
Photo by Steve Wrubel
29 Palms, Steve Wrubel
Photo by Steve Wrubel
29 Palms, Steve Wrubel
Photo by Steve Wrubel
29 Palms, Steve Wrubel
Photo by Steve Wrubel
29 Palms, Steve Wrubel
Photo by Steve Wrubel

Dallas photographer Steve Wrubel grew up in California, where his obsession with palm trees — which he calls the "supermodels of the tree world" — began. In his series "29 Palms" ($900-$2,600) on display and for sale right now at Number One in Highland Park Village, he captures these exotic trees from different points of view, transporting the viewer to another time and place.

We asked Wrubel to share his thoughts on some of our favorites.

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“I was lucky to have grown up around palm trees. The first three years of my life, I lived on the Ivory Coast of Africa, and I imagine that I used to gaze up from my crib at the palms with the same sense of wonder and joy that I do now."

"[This is] on the edge of America, where the cottages and beautiful hotels of Santa Monica meet the Pacific," he says. "There is just something about these tall, slender and sexy palm trees that line the edge of the land in California that mesmerizes me."

"Every day they look different, and every hour their backdrop changes — sometimes foggy, sometimes sunny with clouds," Wrubel says. "This is at Will Rogers Beach."

"Life seems to always take me to 'palm tree meccas' like Santa Monica and Palm Springs, Hawaii, Mexico, and even coastal Mombasa in Kenya. Have you ever noticed the Spanish Steps in Rome? Teeming with ancient palms.

"When I am in these places, I cannot seem to keep my cameras off the big, beautiful trees that sway in the breeze of the sweet, salty sea air."

"My beloved Kona Coast in Hawaii. Coconuts fall and find homes in the craggy recesses of the black lava coastline of my favorite island destination.

"I spent many hours on the beach, in the hammocks of the old Kona Village, looking up at these wavy giants sway in the salted air of Polynesia."

"This all-blue image is one of my favorites and reminds me of sitting at the edge of the water and staring into the reflections of the old, tiled pool," Wrubel says.

"Right across the street from one of the greatest hotels in the world, and standing majestically in a park all their own, are the palm trees of the famous landmark known as the 'five points' in Beverly Hills, by the Beverly Hills Hotel at Sunset Boulevard, where Beverly, Canon and Lomitas come together at Will Rogers Park.

"If you like a nice park bench, wading pools filled with lily pads and fish, and some fine palm trees, go find this park and enjoy your morning newspaper with a perfect cup of coffee from the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf."

"You would never guess what out-of-the-way part of Los Angeles these palm shots come from," Wrubel says. "Two blocks in an unexpected community lined perfectly with the hotshots of the LA palm scene.

"If you know, send me a message with your guess. I would love to talk about it. Look for these soon on swimsuits from Cover Clothing."

"This Bikini Atoll underwater. It is one of the most incredible places I have ever been and for sure one of the most beautiful," Wrubel says.

"The sand is powdery white, and inside the atoll you can float around in the shallows with the seashells and bonefish. The edge of the beach is lined with palms that hang over the water, and you can sneak an abstract glimpse of them through the surface of the water when you look at in a certain way."
 

"I think everyone loves a palm tree," Wrubel says. "Exotic yet fanciful, graceful and sturdy. The supermodels of the tree world."

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