By Diana Cavagnaro
Leo Malevanchik is a talented photographer who resides here in San Diego. He grew up in Moscow where artists are held in high esteem and spent his childhood surrounded by the rich Russian art tradition.
He first became interested in fashion photography when he was 7 years old. He got a little camera and started shooting friends and events. He learned to develop the film in the bathroom and started experimenting.
At that time his uncle and artist, Eduard Choroshy, was friends with famous photographer Alexandr Lapin. Malevanchik was introduced to him and enrolled in one of his small classes studying photography with him for two years. During college, Malevanchik became friends with a Rock and Roll group whose Russian name means Time Machine in English. He started shooting their concerts and eventually the group became popular. Today they are still a household name in Russia. The Time Machine is still famous and Malevanchik sees pictures he took of the group still floating around.
Finishing university, he received a Master’s Degree in mechanical engineering. A sponsorship to the US became available and his entire family including his wife and 5-year old son decided to leave the Soviet Union. This meant that the government didn’t look at them favorably and consequently imposed heavy restrictions on what they could bring to the US. The negatives of his photography were one of the items he had to leave behind.
Malevanchik and his family landed in Tucson, Arizona in 1990. It was the opposite culturally and weather wise from Moscow. They remained there for nine years until his wife secured a position in San Diego and they moved the family here. He slowly moved into the art circles and met other artists here. He started shooting portraits, models, and theme parties regularly. Malevanchik met a hairdresser from Bellus Academy who envisioned a program with role playing and invited him to be a photographer there. He would take pictures of the student’s creations.
He started photographing LA Fashion Week, Fashion Week San Diego, and New York Fashion Week. He also shoots bands here in San Diego such as the Republic of Letters which was a top band here for two years. He would do editorial shoots in their studio during rehearsals and then shoot them during performances around town. He also began shooting for magazines and blogs. The La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival gave him the opportunity to shoot people from around the world. Malevanchik realized that his forte was shooting faces and still life pictures.
Appreciating the art of “American Gothic,” Malevanchik started a tradition of giving the models a piece of fruit to hold for the last shot of each photoshoot. He has now been using fruit for years and has over 100 of these photographs. As soon as Covid-19 has subsided, look for a gallery exhibit featuring these amazing shots with green apples, red apples, or strawberries. In his spare time, Malevanchik travels around the world taking pictures of indigenous peoples. Since Covid-19, he has been taking the photography outdoors. He arrives 40 minutes ahead of time and sets everything up outside with a backdrop and is able to practice his art while maintaining safe distancing. If you would like more information, visit www.leomalevanchik.com.
Sept. 26, 2020 – 16th annual Virtual Event,
“Strut for Sobriety!”
The event will have an award ceremony and fashion show to be held by A New PATH. The event celebrates recovery from drug addiction. Fashion show produced by Gretchen Productions. For info: 619-6701184.
Oct. 17, 2020 – Fashion Week San Diego 2020
Passes on sale for the virtual runway show with nine designers. Purchase at www.fashionweekdsd.com.
— Diana Cavagnaro is an internationally renowned Couture Milliner based in Alpine, California. Learn more about our Hat Designer, Teacher & Blogger at www.DianaCavagnaro.com