Stephen Mallon: Thank you! I bounce back and forth, sometimes finding the human element within the machine, sometimes wanting to abstract the subject and hide the photographic elements. Sometimes there is a figure to give a sense of scale.

“Weeks 297”, by Stephen Mallon.

When a photographic project of yours is not an assignment, how do you go about getting permissions to shoot? 

SM: Begging, pleading, good ladders, lenses that fit through holes in the fence, and finding safe places to shoot from!

The American Reclamation project began as a book proposal. I hired a writer to explain what the recycling project was going to be about. We book-ended the project to be focused on the 50 states and asked different companies if they wanted to participate. One by one, as people said yes, more and more doors opened.
Your BFA is in Photography: Did you branch out into filmmaking immediately? Was there a project that inspired the crossover? 

SM: The release of the Canon 5d MKII with its full-frame video capability coupled with the spread of online news sources made me realize I needed to learn how to work in motion.  When Weeks Marine called and told me they were moving the new Willis Avenue bridge in a couple of weeks, I asked if it would be OK to shoot a time-lapse film of the project. No charge because I wasn’t sure if it was going to work. Ended up in six film festivals !

Does your project choice come first, or does the desire to tackle a photography or filmmaking project? Does your working style differ between the two? 

SM: I am a photographer at heart and a hired gun for filmmaking. I am working on disciplining myself to capture more motion at some of my shoots so video will  be an option for some installation but it is a challenge!


What piece of equipment is an absolutely must-have for you when you’re out on assignment? 


SM: My wide-angle lens and a tripod. The Sigma 12-24mm has been my go-to lens for a number of years and I just found a new adapter to keep it on my latest still body of choice, the GFX 100s.

One more piece of gear that has helped me greatly in the past are polarizers and ND filters so I can control how much movement I want in the scene. Which means you’re on a tripod.

So — 3 pieces?
Profile photo: Stephen Mallon, credit Beowulf Sheehan
Top photo: ‘Wing’, Stephen Mallon

“Virginia Placement,” by Stephen Mallon.