maciej makalowski

Someplace in Space Featured Photographer - Maciej Makalowski

Like many people in the Bay Area, Maciej Makalowski has done a lot of moving around. His parents, both scientists, moved the family often for jobs at different institutions.  Leaving Poland when he was seven years old, his family would settle briefly in Montreal before moving to the United States when Maciej was nine.  He would also live in Washington, DC; Pennsylvania; and Long Beach, CA.


He received his BFA in painting from Pennsylvania State University in 2008, and his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2011. When asked about his transitions between painting and photography, he states, “I studied to be a painter. My dad and brother were both really into photography when I was a child. I didn’t start taking photos seriously until the end of undergrad, maybe 2006 or 2007.”


He reflects on his work in general, “We are living in dismal times. My work creates a record of the physical manifestation of hopelessness, apathy, alienation, desire, loss, loneliness, and melancholy created by the conditions of modern life. My work does not offer solutions to predicaments, but illustrates and exposes them. Even though this view of life is bleak, within my work, there are always various elements of irony and humor. The formal aspects are as important to me as the subject matter. Through the inherent quality of the medium, I convey these fragile emotional states.”


Shooting his images on expired film, he owns about 30 cameras, only four or five of which work, mostly gifts or picked up from the side of the street. These include four Polaroid cameras, an old Polish twin reflex, some Eastern European SLRs, and an array of point and shoots.  He also has 16-millimeter, Super 8, and 8-millimeter motion cameras.


Influences include fellow photographers here in San Francisco, his friends, who  often end up as his models, Terry Richardson, Harmony Korine, Dianne Arbus, Helmut Newton, and the never ending flood of images on Tumblr.