Rosita's, a popular restaurant in Laredo, once had a very artistic cook. Morris Malakoff, now a filmmaker and photojournalist, spent some time in Rosita's kitchen dishing up Tex-Mex food for hungry customers. It wasn't a bad job, it just wasn't the right job for Malakoff. "I knew I wanted to do more with my life," he tells us.
After a few years, Malakoff left the restaurant and joined a design center. Sounds more creative, right? Ah, not so much. "My job was assembling and moving furniture, hanging pictures, shipping ... It was the kind of work that required no real thought." Still not the right job.
"After several months of this, I quit and took the leap into photography." That, finally, was the right job.
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What he does: Malakoff calls himself an art-photographer and photojournalist. He's worked on commercial projects around the world, including India, the Caribbean and throughout the Americas.
About five years ago, as he "reached a [larger] control and understanding of the machine that creates photography," he moved more heavily into art-photography. His signature series, Civic Illuminations, architectural photographs capturing light, movement and color in a way that seems almost abstract, was the result. (See the above image.)
Lately he's added the title filmmaker to his resume. His most recent film project is STRATUM, a short film originally conceived collaboratively with Houston fine-artist Allan Rodewald. Malakoff points out that STRATUM is not a documentary capturing the person behind the work but an art-film focusing "on the layer between artist and art piece."
Why he likes it: Malakoff says he enjoys revealing truths through imagery, especially never-before-seen imagery. "That's the part of the process that is most satisfying," he says. He uses natural light, distortion and extreme wide [angles] to achieve a new perspective.
What inspires him: The Civil Illuminations series began, Malakoff tells us, as an effort in locating "the soul in a structure." He says that he found that any structure built by a human, however small or large, is inevitably an imitation of the self. "I found that the lights of a structure at night most perfectly and symbolically represent this ..."
If not this, then what: Malakoff is committed to creating imagery through art-photography and film. "I do not see any other options for a different type of work."
If not here, then where: There's no other city that appeals to Malakoff at this point in his life and career. He's been asked about working somewhere else, but always answers that Houston is where he wants to be. "I feel that Houston has it's own unique style and is full of under-appreciated elements."
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What's next: "At present, I am finding a balance between photography and film."
For information, visit morrismalakoff.com.
More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
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