Q&A: Yael Malka


Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? It usually works out in the end. What will baffle future generations about our day and age? Going from Obama to Trump. Racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia. Paying for health care and education. What is it that interests you about photography? Beyond the science of it (film specifically — which still baffles me), being able to take something real and truthful already in existence and completely subverting it without needing to make it from scratch, like with a painting or sculpture. What is the worst thing about city life? How expensive everything is. What part of the planet would you like to explore? The whole thing, but my top spots are Thailand and Japan. What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural? Are psychics, tarot cards and astrology considered supernatural? I haven’t really gotten too much into any of these but am intrigued by them and think there could be *some* truth there. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? Malcolm X. 

Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Neuroscience. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? I have way too many of these moments to pick one — it’s the worst. Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. Food critic. How often do you take other people’s advice? I ask my girlfriend for her advice everyday and usually take it. Describe a personal hell. Never being allowed to listen to music for the rest of my life. Losing my vision. Having my heart broken. Which living person do you most admire? Celine Richards, president of Planned Parenthood. On what occasion do you lie? When I have to give my name to a cashier. I’ve had someone write and pronounce my name as Lyayel once. I usually just get Elle. What was the last crime you witnessed? Today when I drove without a drivers license to get some pizza on the beach. What is the best way to educate yourself? Books, documentaries, podcasts, conversations. What is the next book you want to read? Swing Time by Zadie Smith, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, The Mothers by Britt Bennett. Ultimate camera? Pentax 645Z medium format DSLR. Most used camera? 4×5 Crown Graphex. What object do you want? Comme de Garcons multicolor wallet. What object do you need? A digital camera, badly.

Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? I could probably choke someone with my thighs and my calves look like I have been working on them for a decade, even though I have no idea how they got that way — maybe my youthful soccer days? My arms could be more brolic. Describe a cheap thrill. When I get to pick up film from the lab after it’s been processed. Pick an historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. Fall of the Berlin Wall. Are impulses more important than consequences? I’ve gotten in trouble too many times for thinking this way (or not thinking, rather), so at this point in my life I would say no. Which talent would you most like to have? I would love to play an instrument REALLY well. I would also love to fly a plane. What is your plan for the next 24 hours? Being on a plane from Israel to New York with a layover in Istanbul. I was working on a photo project and visiting family. 

Yael Malka (b. 1990) is a native New Yorker and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. See more of her work: Website / Instagram.