The magazine for Western Washington University

Red Square at night

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Mark Malijan

“I was always fascinated by Western’s campus at night,” says photographer Mark Malijan, a senior from Lynnwood who took this photo Nov. 7, 2007, capturing the warm glow of incandescent lights reflecting off the wet bricks of Red Square.

Malijan carries his camera the way other students carry their iPods and cell phones. “I actually feel weird when I don’t have it,” he says. “The thought of losing a sweet moment in time is too dreadful not to lug it around with me.”

Malijan has been interested in photography since high school but got serious about it during his sophomore year at Western while shooting for The Planet, Western’s environmental journalism magazine. Since then, he’s shot for student and commercial publications, founded Western’s student chapter of the National Press Photographers Association and won several awards for his photography.

“During one of my classes of visual journalism, Assistant Professor John Harris said that you’re not going to make everybody happy with every choice you make, but you need to have a reason for why you made those choices. You have to ask the questions: Why use this lens? Why shoot from this angle?

“Once I started answering these questions, I could start adding depth and personality to my work,” he says. “Answering these questions on a daily basis allowed me to find the reasons behind my work and what I want to portray to others within my photographs.”

Being able to justify your choices, he adds, is also a good philosophy for life.