I'm talking with photographer Douglas Friedman over the phone. He's driving, but not just down any road, ‘it's the road from Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals,’ Douglas says with a chuckle. He pulls over, and I stress I won't take up too much of his time. He laughs again and says he has all the time in the world. This is far from true coming from a man as in demand as Douglas, but it speaks to his laidback demeanor and infinitely kind soul.

After jet-setting around Douglas Friedman photographing the lives of the rich and famous, he found himself captivated by the allure and enigma of the Texas desert and chose to set up home in this evocative setting. In the tranquil embrace of his Marfa, Texas home, Friedman unwinds in his Modpools-crafted pool repurposed from a shipping container, complemented by a captivating sculpture by artist Brett Douglas Hunter. Courtesy of Douglas Friedman

You began your career as David Fincher's assistant; what an education that must have been!

I was a kid in my early 20s. I'd just graduated university and wanted to be a documentary filmmaker. I got some reception shifts at Propaganda Films, then one day, Spike Jonze needed an assistant! I was passed around some incredible directors and ended up with David Fincher while working on Seven. After we did Fight Club, all our lives changed completely.

Working with David was incredible. I learned so much. But ultimately, I realized I would never be as smart as him; so, I sold everything I owned and moved to Nepal for a year!

In Marfa, Texas, one of the US's smallest towns, stands Friedman's stunning contemporary home. With a population of 2,000, this Texan enclave has quickly attained a legendary reputation courtesy of its thriving art community, exclusivIn Marfa, Texas, one of the US's smallest towns, stands Friedman Ranch, Douglas' stunning contemporary home. With a population of 2,000, this Texan enclave has quickly attained a legendary reputation courtesy of its thriving art community, exclusive boutiques, and the captivating landmass of its pristine desert. "It's captivating oasis; Marfa exudes an old school Texan charm that fosters a sincere sense of communal solidarity" - Douglas Friedman.
For those enamoured with indoor/outdoor luxury living, adventure, and the allure of the desert, Douglas Friedman's ranch offers an enchanting escape. Available for rent, it embodies a love for wide-open spaces, nature, and the romance of the desert. Your stay her will be one to remember. Friedman Ranch

You must've loved Nepal to stay there so long?

I did almost a year backpacking around Southeast Asia; a good chunk of that was trekking around India and Nepal. This was before cell phones, before the internet. There was an incredible sense of getting lost, being alone, and having a clear head.

You returned from Nepal and built a remarkably successful career as a photographer. What is the key to capturing the essence of a place on camera?

I'm purely driven by instinct. When I was young, I'd constantly devour photography magazines. I would try and take pictures like Terry Richardson or David LaChapelle; I was continually aspiring to other people's ideas of what the world should look like. Eventually, I stopped looking at references and started trusting my eye.

When in Marfa, a pilgrimage to Chianti is an imperative endeavor. Spearheaded by the visionary artist Donald Judd, this sprawling 400-acre expanse on the outskirts of town stands as a testament to his legacy. What was once an army post now serves as the awe-inspiring backdrop for one of the globe's most extensive permanent collections of minimalist art. This immersive haven seamlessly merges art, architecture, and landscape. Plan ahead and go on a guided tour. Photo Florian Holzherr

Would you consider yourself a craftsman, artist, or something else?

I'm a commercial photographer, so I don't necessarily refer to myself as an artist. Instagram is my artistic endeavor. It's an incredible platform where I can choose to show something that's not driven by the dollar behind it!

Do you have a favorite shoot from your career?

When I think back, I have fond memories shooting, but they're all from before social media and the iPhone. Back then, subjects respected photography and the photographer. Now, everyone knows how to take a selfie, their best angle, and how to pose. Portraiture used to be revered.

I think spending a few days with Giorgio Armani at his house in the Caribbean is up there. Not only was it hysterical, but we got some great work. I had three days with Giorgio. Nowadays, when you take a portrait, hair and makeup take three hours. You get two minutes to take the portrait, and then they've got to create social media video content and Boomerangs!

Who are your favorite interior designers of the moment?

I'm lucky to have become quite close to some of my favorite designers. Steven Gambrel, no one does a bathroom or a kitchen like Steven. So luxurious, beautiful, but so approachable and livable. You never walk into a Steven Gambrel room and feel as though you can't sit on something or touch something.

Also, Ken Fulk is a brilliant designer and creative director. His perspective is so broad and utterly unique. We're working on another book together. It's a wonderful responsibility to curate someone's work, to see, capture, and document it.

I must also mention Nicole Hollis. It's a real privilege to work with designers at the top of their game.

At Cactus Liquors, owned by Faith Gay and Joey Benton, you can pick up an agave plant along with a good bottle of tequila. The many succulents and other plants for sale surround what might be one of the greatest selections of liquors in the state.
Garza Marfa: Jamey Garza and Constance Holt-Garza showcase their exquisite handcrafted saddle-leather chairs, Andean-inspired textiles, and artisanal ceramics.

Where are you hoping to travel to this year?

There's a tiny old fishing village nestled at the very tip of Cape Cod called Provincetown, which is a magical little place. I'm trying to find the time to buy a house there as my next project, so that will be on my list.

A few summers ago, I went to Sardinia. It really spoke to me. The landscape of the islands to the north and east reminded me of the West Texas desert... except flooded with seawater!

A third spot... I would love to go to Japan. I want to see Tokyo.

Where do you feel most at home?

For the first time, Marfa, Texas, finally feels like home. Spending Thanksgiving there this year was simply delightful. Marfa offers so much—it's one of Texas’s top art destinations. I suggest taking a leisurely stroll through the town center, where you can discover artisanal shops filled with exquisite handcrafted boots, furniture, textiles, and ceramics with a unique local aesthetic.

Cobra Rock: Explore desert-chic boots and peruse the Native American–owned brand Ginew's denim and waxed canvas jackets. Owners Logan Caldbeck and Colt Miller offer tours of the on-site workshop, where the boots are meticulously crafted.
Margaret’s: Indulge in shareable small plates post-shopping — from wild boar sausage to creamy burrata and house salad. Save room for the generous hot fudge sundae, crowned with a mountain of whipped cream and a classic cherry.

You mention Marfa; you shot for a book entitled Cooking in Marfa. Are you a foodie?

I get my love of eating from my father, but it could be just from an incredible hot dog vendor rather than a steak that's been cooked over six different flames! That cookbook was a wonderful experience, working on a project in Marfa with friends, Rocky and Virginia. One of the reasons I moved to Marfa was how Virginia tells stories. She's a beautiful woman who wanders around Marfa with diamonds and a cigarette telling stories.

You spend a lot of time in LA. Where do you spend your evenings?

The bar at the Sunset Tower. It's a bit of a clubhouse. Whether with friends or by myself, it's always an incredible night.

Step into the heart of Marfa at The Marfa Spirit Co., where crafted artisanal spirits embody the essence of this desert oasis. Visit their distillery and discover why it's an essential destination when experiencing Marfa first-hand."
WHERE I WANT TO TRAVEL NEXT: Sardinia is renowned for its pristine turquoise waters and stunning Costa Smeralda beaches. Discover islands with timeless traditions, gastronomic delights, and picturesque landscapes. Among Italy's most enchanting hamlets, Bosa is a captivating fusion of heritage and contemporary allure. Nestled along Sardinia's western shores, this charming village beckons visitors to explore its ancient lineage dating back to the 12th century, all while basking in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.

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