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.
This story continues on the next page.
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."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
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).
Terrill Mitchell, dancer Deji Osinulu, photographer Mason Sweeney, artist K.J. Russell, sci-fi author and writing teacher Emily Robison, choreographer and filmmaker John Cramer, violinist and concertmaster Shipra Mehrotra, Odissi dancer and choreographer Winston Williams, comics artist Octavio Moreno, opera singer Dylan Godwin, actor, storyteller and teacher McKenna Jordan, independent bookstore owner Steven Trimble, mixed media artist Sandria Hu, visual artist and professor of art Robert Gouner AKA Goon73, photographer Shawna Forney and Erma Tijerina (aka SHER), culture gurus Mark Bradley, photographer James Ferry, comics artist Keith Parsons, author and philosophy professor Alonzo Williams Jr., photographer Rudy Zanzibar Campos, painter Paige Kiliany, director Betirri Bengtson, visual artist Melissa Maygrove, romance novelist Natalie Harris, bridal gown designer Larry McKee, cinematographer Tiffany Heath, filmmaker Jonathan Pidcock, Jewelry Maker Mallory Bechtel, actor, singer, dancer Janine Hughes, visual artist Nyssa Juneau, artist John Merritt, artist Leslie Scates, choreographer and dance educator Denise O'Neal, producer, director, playwright Jason Poland, cartoonist Courtney Sandifer, filmmaker, actor, writer Lloyd Gite, gallery owner Henry Yau, The Children's Museum of Houston's publicity and promotions guru Angeli Pidcock, fantasy writer and mentor Jennifer Mathieu, author Scott Chitwood, writer Anat Ronen, urban artist Amber Galloway Gallego, rockstar and sign language interpreter Michael Weems, playwright Lane Montoya, artist Jordan Simpson, SLAM poet Joey & Jaime, designers Suzi Taylor, photographer Ashton Miyako, dressmaker T. Smith, artistLindsay Finnen, photographer Kaitlyn Stanley, tattoo artist Eleazar Galindo Navarro, video game maker Kate de Para, textile and clothing designer Shawn Swanner, video game painter Andy Gonzales, painter Chris Foreman, comic book sketcher Theresa DiMenno, photographer Jessica E. Jones, opera singer Atseko Factor, actor John Pluecker, writer, poet and language justice worker Ricky Ortiz, painter, tattoo artist Rabēa Ballin, artist David Wald, actor Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist Heather Gordy, artist Mark Nasso, comic artist Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer