EXCERPTS FROMTHE ARTICLE BY THE NDG RACOON
Daniel Malka: professional photographer
For Daniel, photography is a way of life. He instructs his students to dream, sleep, and breathe photography. He considers it the most powerful storytelling device ever created.
“No wonder there is a belief that certain cultures think that a photograph steals a piece of your soul. In a way it’s true. You can immortalize an instant of someone’s life, and that, to me, seems to be the same thing. And with today’s technology, you can get that story out there in seconds.”
Being a freelancer all his life hasn’t been easy. However, photography has allowed him to live, and has elevated him in his darkest moments. It has been his most faithful companion (besides his dog Mona). Daniel has gotten paid substantially to play with what he refers as his “toys,” though he has never technically considered his art to be “work.”
“My first paying photos were for Les Grands Ballet Canadiens.
I was studying Science at the time, working part-time selling cameras…man, every penny I made went back into photography.
I fell in love with the power of telling a story in a fraction of a second, immortalizing time.”
He has taken award-winning photos on two continents, and has had them published on three. His most lucrative ventures have been during contracts for ad agencies, but what he loves most is being spending time with the people.
“I’ve met so many outstanding people through photography. It gives you the ability to connect with your surroundings in a very unique way. And because, as I always say, an image never lies, you know right away who is the good guy and who is the scum bag when you look through the view finder.”
Although I interrupt here to mention various visual deceptions perpetrated by the media, Daniel promptly corrects me. He is not referring to image manipulation. He is talking about photography in its purest form.
“It’s a tool that tells the truth, and should be used to share the beauty in this world whenever and wherever you find it. No, I am no surgeon. I use the tool bluntly and honestly to expose the good and the bad. I am even more passionate today than when I was a teenager. Some people hate me for it, but quite frankly I don’t care, because the ones that do are usually mediocre, maybe not always technically, but in relation to revealing raw emotion. I don’t believe in life without passion. It’s like making love by appointment.”
Daniel loves everything that has to do with photography. Teaching it has been an enlightening element in his life; sharing all of his knowledge and inspiring others is the most gratifying experience as he gets to witness people growing into photographers with his guidance.
“Photography is no different than life. There are decisive moments where you have to choose where you want to go, just like the instant when you decide to press that shutter button. I try to find the passion in my students as well as help develop their creative instincts. Photography is about people, passion, love, simplicity, humanism, and freedom of expression. Most of all, it’s about freedom itself. The professional aspect is a bonus.”
The Daniel Malka Photo Project
“The Daniel Malka Photo Project is the sum of all my experiences, emotions, and greatest beliefs about humanity’s capacity for love, compassion and sharing. Before becoming a photographer, I wanted to be a pediatrician. Children are natural fighters. They have a pure, untamed vision of their surroundings. They love and trust unconditionally…that is until they are hurt, of course. Kids are the most vulnerable in any society, and should be protected from anyone who uses them to satisfy greed or obtain power.
“The project is challenging in the sense that it is addressed to children from ages 7 to 15. We’d like to begin them at 5, but we’ll have to see about the logistics of that. The kids involved will be diverse. From the hidden and forgotten indigenous people of Latin America to the child soldiers in Africa, we want to give them all the tools to document their experiences from the inside out as opposed than the outside in. I believe that helping develop creativity in these kids would give rise to positive critical thinking skills. Also, they will have a tool to be more sensitive, united, and be seen by the rest of the world. Greater exposure would minimize their roles as targets of injustice, war, and delinquency.
“The project will stay alive thanks to photographers who will get on-site training to continue the project. Our team of photographic journalists wants to help change these children’s lives by providing their voices a visual forum. We’re all volunteers who have agreed that every penny raised must be spent directly on the kids.
“The idea is to teach photography, and to design specific assignments based on their needs and problems. They will document and photograph their lives and gain exposure in galleries around the world, and online. This should generate more awareness about the often overlooked conditions of these children, and generate more support for all NGOs. Of course there is a lot to do in Canada as well, and our team will start work here soon.