The online image archive of the globally-renowned private island broker and aerial photographer has now been viewed by an incredible 1 million people from every corner of the planet.
When it comes to beautiful islands, there is a true universal appeal – and why not? Like a snowflake, each isle is distinctive and unique; some are rustic lake islands with thickets of fir trees and a cottage, others have elegant European villas and manicured gardens, or almost everyone’s fantasy, a small tropical isle with a cluster of palms and endless stretches of white beach.
As the founder of international brokerage firm Vladi Private Islands, Farhad Vladi has seen them all – and throughout his long career, he’s caught many of them on film. His avid interest in photography, often done from a helicopter, gave rise to the celebrated coffee table books, ‘The World of Private Islands’, which is published by teNeues. Within its pages are photographs of dozens of private islands, many of which were sold by Vladi or are found for rent on the Vladi Private Islands website.
In the past few years, Vladi Private Islands also began building an account on the photo-sharing website Panoramio, and people from around the world were able to enjoy the company’s breathtaking catalogue of island photography online. “Over 40 years, we have the amassed the world’s most extensive collection of private island photographs,” said Vladi, “and each of the many thousands of islands has its own story to tell!”
The many islands displayed on Panoramio illustrate the great lengths that Vladi Private Islands goes when working with their properties – Vladi visits the majority of the islands he sells, and many of the resorts and rentals too. As very unique and challenging types of properties, islands require a degree of effort far beyond that of conventional real estate. “There’s no better way to get to know an island than from the air – you see everything,” Vladi said. After travelling far and wide to see an island, he also walks its grounds and inspects any buildings, to get a complete picture of what he is working with.
Panoramio features over 300 of his best photographs, most of which have been chosen for use on Google Earth. Here are just a handful of the most interesting, romantic, and simply gorgeous islands in the Vladi Private Islands catalogue, each photo worth far more than a thousand words. It’s easy to see why over a million people have now enjoyed a visit to their Panoramio account – it’s like travelling to the most amazing islands on earth, from the comfort of your own home!
Forsyth Island and Pohuenui Island, New Zealand
The islands of the Marlborough Sounds, an intricate series of inlets at the top of New Zealand’s South Island, have an ancient character that’s all their own. Forsyth Island, which has a stunning hill-top home and is available for rent, and the 2,166-hectare Pohuenui Island, its neighbour and an operating nature resort, rise out of the waters like rugged mountains. This photo was taken by Farhad Vladi from a helicopter while on the way to Forsyth Island, which he owns and visits each year.
Cousine Island, Seychelles
The beautiful Cousine Island is found in the Indian Ocean country of the Seychelles, and has the distinction of being the first island ever sold by Vladi! Now a world famous eco-resort that has hosted celebrities like Paul McCartney, Cousine was completely untouched when it was first sold in the 1970’s. Today, guests to the island’s luxury resort help with conservation efforts, such as caring for its protected giant tortoises and planting native flora. Vladi has sold the island several times over the decades, and helped promote the resort to international acclaim through his travel agency.
Sandy Spit, British Virgin Islands
This little speck of land in the BVI is notable for a few reasons – though less than half an acre in size, the island boasts wonderful white beaches that completely encircle it, and its round appearance with just a small patch of jungle in the middle have made it an archetype of the remote Robinson Crusoe type of island. So much so, in fact, that Sandy Spit has been used in numerous advertising campaigns to represent the classic ‘desert isle’, including, reportedly, for Corona beer. Found very close to Jost Van Dyke island, Sandy Spit is a popular spot for boaters, with excellent swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving found in the reefs offshore. This striking image was taken from a helicopter by Vladi while in the BVI on business.
Tetiaroa, French Polynesia
Private islands and celebrities have always been intertwined, and this lush paradise in the South Pacific was formerly owned by one of the most famous screen stars of the 20th century. Tetiaroa was the island home of Marlon Brando, who fell in love with the exotic, far-flung paradise while in the region filming the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty. in 1967, he bought this small atoll and married a local Polynesian beauty, creating such a buzz about the sultry South Pacific that other Hollywood celebrities like Raymond Burr, Diana Ross and Errol Flynn all had to come experience it for themselves. Their son is now developing the island as an eco-resort, in partnership with the development group Pacific Beachcomber SC.
Skorpios Island, Greece
Perhaps one of the best-known private islands in the world, Skorpios was the Greek retreat of shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, and was widely photographed when his glamorous wife Jackie-O fell in love with his Ionian Sea island and it became a magnet for paparazzi. She was often pictured relaxing on his yacht just offshore, and her enjoyment of Skorpios helped give private islands a mystique that endures today. While the island is still in the hands of the Onassis family, rumours have been plentiful about celebrities buying the famous island to have for themselves. This image was taken by Vladi, who has been involved with the island as an appraiser, from a helicopter.
Dark Island, New York
It’s a surprising sight in upstate NY – an authentic looking Scottish castle, on its own secluded island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River! This magical island was once owned by the president of the Singer Sewing Machine Co., who built the dramatic castle in the early 1900’s. After a lengthy renovation, the castle has been restored to its original glory, and island is now open for daily tours. For those looking for a unique and romantic experience, there is one luxurious suite available for overnight rental, and the island is popular for hosting weddings and other celebrations. Vladi has been an integral part of restoring the castle, and took this wonderful photograph on a recent visit. Click below to visit the website for Singer Castle, where you can see many more pictures and read about its enchanting history.