Stephen Mallon – ChatterArtist August 2012

This month our featured artist is New York based photographer and filmmaker Stephen Mallon, a Leo born on August 2nd. I have known Stephen for quite a few years now and have watched his career evolve, grow and progress during that time. We first met when Stephen was just starting out, one of the skilled and talented young shooters to come out of RIT and start a successful career initially shooting stock. Did somebody say stock? Yes, that’s what I said.

Stephen was smart enough to not solely rely on shooting stock for the rest of his life, especially once he married his lovely wife Sacha and they had their daughter Josephine. So what else has Stephen done? Well, Stephen has always been and continues to be involved in the photo community, including serving as the ASMP NY Chapter President a few years ago. Regarding his photography, he has always pursued the “fine art” avenue as well as commercial assignment and editorial work right from when he graduated in the mid-90s. A photographer is still first and foremost an artist, so it is fine if you present yourself to multiple markets, as Stephen does. Stephen is currently represented by David Laidler, and Works Artists.

Flight 1549 ©Stephen Mallon

Everyone has defining moments or opportunities in their career and certainly one of the most powerful in Stephen’s was when he had the amazing and yet humbling opportunity to photograph “The Salvage of Flight 1549” – the plane that was successfully landed by Captain Chelsey B. Sullenberger in the Hudson river on January 15th 2009. Stephen first showed the images at the Front Room Gallery in Williamsburg, and then again at Calumet in Manhattan, where I saw them. The prints were beautifully bold, printed nice and large, and the effect was both powerful and ominous.

Next Stop Atlantic ©Stephen Mallon

Prior to the success of this series, Stephen had also photographed another unusual opportunity where dumping large man-made metal machines into the water was not due to a death-defying emergency, but an actual planned burial – the sinking of old New York City subway cars entitled “Next Stop Atlantic.” And as if that wasn’t enough to whet his appetite, he went on to photograph the “USS Radford” as well. Another hunk of old, abandoned metal.

USS Radford ©Stephen Mallon

Reclamation ©Stephen Mallon

It’s clear Stephen is interested in the environment around him, in particular industrial structures, mostly those that are hauntingly uninhabited or void of life. And even though the structures  are man-made, the focus is on the end result, not those that made it, as can also be seen in his “Reclamation” series for example.

A Bridge Delivered ©Stephen Mallon

But he didn’t stop there, because perhaps one of my absolute favorites is his more recent foray into filmmaking and “A Bridge Delivered,” a film that captures (in time-lapse motion) the replacement of an entire section of the Willis Avenue Bridge – brilliant! I love it every time I watch it. Once again, Stephen had something very cool and interesting to show prospective agents and clients, which brings us nicely to his new film “The Volare,” which was recently included in ATA’s (Artists Television Access) screening “Sight Unseen” along with 7 other filmmakers. Commissioned by the Wall Street Journal, “The Volare” is an accelerated look at the construction of the 1st new roller coaster to be built in 70 years at Coney Island, New York.

The Volare ©Stephen Mallon

And what is also interesting (for me anyway) is how in contrast to all of his still photographs of dilapidated and discarded metal, in his films, he’s still showing us big hunks of metal and man-made structures – but this time they are literally being constructed, not recycled. I get the distinct impression that Stephen is somehow able to photograph things or situations that most people don’t usually get the chance to do! And from those opportunities he is able to deliver images that are bold, creepy and awesomely beautiful all at the same time! Be sure to visit his website to see all of his work.