Art Of Drive: Photographer Malachi Banales

Our Art of Drive series interviews artists, designers and photographers to find out what inspires them.

How long have you been taking photos, and how did it all start for you?

I've been taking photos for around seven years, it started back in college. I took a photo class to get my skills up a bit and because I really like taking photos. After that class I didn't touch a camera for some time but once I picked one up again I never put it down.

Who and what do you cite as influences and motivations for your work?

I really like the old Guess ads. They had a really clean and sexy style. The photos look hot but still clean enough so the girls in them can show their mums! One day soon I'll shoot a campaign for Guess.

Take us through the process of planning and working through a shoot.

Once I have an idea for a photoshoot I'll contact the modeling agencies I work with and ask them to send me photos of girls they have available. Next I'll get the team together (hair, makeup, stylist) and finally find a good location. And then there are those days when I just get up and go shoot some random stuff with no plan in mind.

How do you feel your photographic style has changed and evolved over your career so far?

I think I'm more aware of what's going on and pay greater attention to detail. I look back at earlier work and can definitely see the progress, but there's more progress to be made. If I can look back every few months and see progression then I'm always happy with that.

What equipment do you work with, and why does it suit you best?

I work with a Nikon D800. I keep my equipment bag simple. A 50mm and 70-200mm lens. I use natural light in all of my photoshoots. I prefer to shoot outside any day, studio work is boring.

Which item do you never leave home without?

I never leave home without my 50mm prime lens. It's my favorite lens. Without the ability to zoom in and out it makes me move around the subject, which I like.

When planning a new project, what do you look for in a subject, and how does the project take shape?

When I plan new projects I always try to get a feel for the end result and make sure I want to spend the time and finish what I start without getting bored of it.

Tell us about some of your more interesting commissions that you have been asked to do.

I get booked to shoot a variety of things, everything from fashion to engagement photo sessions. One of the more interesting shoots was for a filmmaker friend of mine who was putting together a clip for Yamaha. For the whole day we got to fly around in a helicopter and shoot race bikes on a private track. That was a really rad job.

You shoot various sub genres of photography from cars to skate to fashion. Do these reflect your personal interests and if so, in what way?

Yeah I love old cars, skateboarding and shooting fashion. I've always been a fan of classic cars, they have style and character you can't go buy off any new car lot. I skateboarded a lot when I was younger, never was too good at it but always had a respect for the sport and just love going to the parks and watching people skate. Fashion photography or photography in general I just can't get enough of, it's a great outlet for the energy I have. Plus I get to work and hang around with hot girls so that’s always a plus...

How do you see your methods and style changing and developing in the future? What’s next from the Malachi Banales studio?

Thats a good question. I would like to start traveling again. A few years back I spent some time in Europe and would love to do that again. I plan on going to Australia soon as well. As far as my style and methods developing I want to start doing more production editorial shoots. Bigger backgrounds with great styling.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in photography?

My best advice would be to photograph whatever it is that gives you that rush when you're shooting and don't stop. And most of all to just enjoy it.

This article first appeared in Fuel Magazine issue 20.

Follow Malachi: @malachibanales.