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Leonid Malashenok

I was born in the far eastern part of the now nonexistent USSR in Vladivostok city. Growing up I was very active and always interested in the arts. I drew, sang, danced and played the piano for seven years. I also participated in many comedies and school plays, starring both as an actor as well as part of the behind-the-scenes creative team.

After high school graduation, I was unsure about my future. On one hand I wanted to express my inner creativity and artistic talent, then on the other my parents had made the decision for me—deciding I would become someone well educated and able to support myself financially. We finally chose the Chinese language degree that eventually turned into International Tourism. After graduating from college, I went on to become a manager at a no-name place, until my wife-to-be insisted that I explore the photographic medium with her.

Photography had been my wife’s real passion since childhood and she was just beginning to take pictures professionally. Her train of thought was that by working together we would be able to express our unconventionally creative minds and also have an alternative for making money. With my wife’s assistance, internet search engines and a Canon 350D I started my career as a photographer with no professional training or experience, basically on a wing and a prayer.

At first, in order to earn some money, I photographed restaurant interiors for a catalog. I then moved into wedding, portrait, still life and food photography. On the side, my wife and I shot more personal work to execute our conceptual ideas. This helped me to start exploring my potential in photography. It took several years for me to realize that I could use photography to implement my vision and perception of reality.

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  • San Francisco, CA, USA