From street photography to charming portraits, fourth-year Myles Malone captures cinematic stills of the world through his eyes. Malone describes one of the benefits of his creativity and passion, “Photography has been a really good outlet to make me go out and meet cool new people. I don’t even know how conversations start. They just start and you meet this person who introduces you to this person and, next thing you know, you’re at the club that night with this person. It happens randomly.” He shares the captivating shots he takes during his exciting outings on his photography account on Instagram.
Malone is a WSP major studying Journalism and Anthropology, and he has found various ways to express his creativity while doing his senior project. His major’s official title is “Contemporary Journalistic Approaches to Equity;” he is creating a multimedia project that focuses on the effects of Donald Trump’s presidency on Black bodies across the USA. He will include his photography, poetry, and the music he likes, along with interviews he has conducted with people from the West Coast to the East Coast. After explaining his project, he commented, “I’m excited to see how my project turns out. I have really enjoyed doing this blog-style project, and I want to release a personal blog by the beginning of May. I want my blog to be an extension of myself and reflect whatever I’m feeling at the time.”
One of his interests includes poetry, which developed at a young age. He said, “I started with more interest with writing and poetry and music, and that started when I was young because my parents were really into music. My mom was in the industry for a bit, so, when I was growing up, they always had me on whatever was poppin’, such as The Neptunes.” His father was interested in poetry, and he recalls that, whenever his father wanted to get a point across, and on multiple nights during the week, before Malone went to bed, they would read poems, which sparked his interest. He likes writing poetry because of the emotional depth they contain, and he relates poetry to music. He also appreciates rhythm and says that all of his poetry has a rhythm to it. Malone mentioned, “If I really have something I want to say, I can create poetry. It also depends on how I’m feeling when I get in the mood to write poetry. Like yesterday, I didn’t even necessarily expect to start writing a poem or something. I was just writing about how I was feeling at the time. I was writing little fragments like ‘Body feel good. Air feel good. Food tastes amazing,’ and then I was talking about everything else and it kind of worked itself into something else.”
From all his interests, Malone says that he is into photography the most because it gives him a reason to do what he likes. When he was in middle school, his grandfather bought him his first camera, and he thought it was cool. After that, he brought his camera everywhere and laughed while recalling how excited he was: “When you’re a kid, you’re like, ‘I got a camera, so now I’m a photographer.’ I was walking around with the camera hanging from my shoulder and I was going click, click, click, taking pictures of whatever; it didn’t even matter.”
After middle school, he left for the boarding school Woodberry Forest School. He brought his camera along, but he did not use the camera as much. However, he recalls a time when he used his camera during a four-day trip to Seattle. He said, “The trip was like a fever dream; I don’t even remember sleeping the whole trip because I was so hyped to be there and away from school, and I was just taking mad pictures.” As soon as he got back from the trip, he went through his SD card and submitted some pictures he liked to his school. He explained that his school had an art gallery called the Baker Gallery, and they liked the pictures he submitted. He smiled as he recalled his experience, “My photography was featured in the art gallery, and it looked really nice underneath those glass covers. I got to come and stand in front of it and talk about it with people. I really felt like some type of artist.”
After high school, he put his camera down and did not use it during his first two years of college, up until the pandemic began. Specifically, he started living with his friend, who was into videography. When he saw his friend’s love for it, he thought, “That’s pretty cool. I know how to use the camera. Let me get back into it. After that, we started clicking, and I really fell in love with it.” Malone and his friend have a business together involving videography, but Malone feels he is stronger in the photography aspects. He says that the entire process has been memorable because they picked it up and started it out of nowhere. They started taking pictures at a ton of weddings, which was good practice for them. The first one they did together was his barber’s wedding. “I’m sitting there in the chair, and my barber is telling me, ‘Yea, I’m getting married and I need a photographer/videographer.’ In my eyes, I was like, ‘Oh, say less! I got you,’ and he actually hires us to do it,” Malone said. “It was just two of us with cameras. It was our first time taking something big, and it came out pretty well. I liked it. That entire day, we barely ate. We were sweating and running out of batteries. It was so funny.”
Apart from weddings, they have also done a jewelry advertisement for one of their friends. They made a video for their friend’s storefront that is like a gallery boutique she opened up in Santa Monica, and court coronation events that are like fundraisers and pageants, which they recently did a few weeks ago. Because a lot of rappers come to L.A., Malone and his friend like to go out with cameras and take pictures of them.
During this time, he quit his job to do photography and videography full-time, and he said that he really wanted to do this properly. Malone enjoys the fact that he can go out to take pictures and incorporate them into his writings. Between the period of the pandemic until now, he has been the most productive with photography in the sense of knowing that he actually wants to pursue this.
Malone said, “As someone from D.C., there is always something cinematic I can see in California because of how rich the culture is and how different it is. Like [on Sunday, Feb. 6], I was at Leimert Park, which was full of Black people. I didn’t even know we had places like that out here, and it’s cool because I come to Whittier and it’s full of Hispanic people. It’s really cool and it’s really nice to be out here taking pictures. [ . . . ] I was out by myself because, especially when I go to new places, I like to be by myself so that I can have my own opinion and paint the picture for myself. So I go there and there’s this fair going on. There’s African music playing while jazz is playing and some preaching in the background, and I get this delicious Jamaican food. I was taking pictures of everything while I was sitting back in a new place. I was so comfortable while I started writing. I felt so alive and at peace.”
Malone has also had an original idea for a short film since last summer that he has always had on the backburner. Just recently, he started getting into it a lot more. He described it in further detail, “I’m not going to create a screenwriting where there’s dialogue because I want to have it over a song I really like a lot. I started going through shot selection and location, and I’m picking actors. I’ve been talking to my friend, who is a choreographer, and I’m going to have him work on it with me.”
The short film will center around a couple who emerge from the ocean and discover a new place. The plot has some sci-fi undertones that intertwine with a love story. While the couple explore the new place, different ideas of reality start hitting them. After they experience things they have never experienced before, they separate in the end. Malone connects the storyline and themes of the short film with his college experience, “I feel like I’ve been feeling like that with college. I came to college with an idea of who I was and what my values were and who I thought myself to be. Then, you come here and get hit with all these different things and you’re alone and you’re on the other side of the United States. Then, you’re looking at your partner, who is your past self, and you’re like, ‘I don’t really know that guy. We’re different.’ I’m not really content with staying complacent and who I was. It’s about letting go of who you used to be and embracing the current you and who you’d like to be. It’s supposed to be introspective, but I feel like it’s easier to interpret when you use two people. I’m going to get into it more in March.”
Regarding plans with photography after college, Malone revealed, “I got this job to teach English in Spain, and I am going to bring my camera and take pictures over there. I want to have a footing in Europe and network over there as well. I’ll do my job in Spain and do my photography on the side and make it work. That’s my plan.”
Featured Image Courtesy of Tony Chung