We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Mallory and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Michael, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
My photography work that I am currently working on a huge project documenting the area I used to live in. This is going to be huge showing the culture and diversity that no one is doing before it is gone. This is done on film instead of digital.

Me as a hairstylist that I am the first American hairstylist to work in Houston Chinatown. I am also the first Japanese to work there. All of my coworkers are from another country in Asia. I have been helping them with their English. I also helped them with getting their American license since no one was helping them. At the same time showing my Asian clients and coworkers the difference in offering American styling and education to them. Otherwise they wouldn’t know or see.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Documenting has been a huge sacrifice and while shooting film has been expensive. I didn’t know it was going to be this huge. Had to cover as much as possible working around my work schedule. I did have to face some challenge with ppl but persistence paid off. One lady wouldn’t let me take photos inside her story which she was rude about it. At first didn’t know why and this would benefit her later. A guy followed me out and told me she just got robbed a week before. I didn’t know that happened. I explained to the guy what I was doing then he told me to wait for him to return. He talked to the owner and told me it was ok to go back inside to take the photos. I also mentioned a lady who lived out there that she may know so to feel more at ease. The photos I took required at least 2-5 trips to try and get the best photos as possible. Some might think to go there and just get a photo. Once I scout the area and get a sense of the area so I know when to get the right opportunity when it presented itself.

Working in Houston Chinatown was not going to be easy. First dealing with the language barrier from clients as well as coworkers. Then maybe there maybe racial tension since I am Japanese. The other issue is the cutting and styling of hair. I have worked with all cultures and textures of hair before but this would be more focused on certain looks that I may not be aware of. I had to pick up on their lingo for instance they say “ two block”. I had no idea what they were saying. What they wanted is what we call it here in the states is under cut or bowl haircut. I am learning their types of perms which in American salons no one really get those. Some Asian clients think it is odd that I don’t speak Chinese ( Mandarin) or not a particular Asian. Ironically this happens in American salon that I may look foreign to them.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Maybe take them to Galveston. Check out Moody Gardens, Pleasure Pier, Take them on the ferry ride to the Bolivar lighthouse. Take them to Surfside beach which has less people there. There is also sandcastle competition.

If they like shopping to the Galleria. There are the other outlet stores.

We have a lot of restaurants to choose from. I definitely like Myakos which I think has best Japanese food.

Maybe go bike riding on new bike trails in Allen Parkway.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
James Balke has helped me a lot with the information and sources with my project.

Instagram: www.instagram.com/michael_mallory

Facebook: Michael Mallory Photography

Other: www.instagram.com/michaelmalloryphotography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.