Dali Ma is a published fashion photographer who is based in Los Angeles, California. He is behind the photography name Phoenix Aperture. The Oxford graduate spent a decade of his life in Europe, and particularly England, taking in the beautiful cultural references and stories which have crept into his style.
As an East Asian diaspora, he is also influenced by his cultural heritage. His work has been published in a range of magazines, including, without limitation, Maxim Africa (where he shot the cover) and GQ Mexico (online). Ma has a diverse and impressive portfolio which showcases his adaptability and cosmopolitan outlook. Yinsey Wang interviews Ma on his development, aspirations and inspirations.
YW: How did you get into photography?
DM: I used to part-time in a camera shop called Jessops. Back then I didn’t know much about cameras at all, and my supervisor Adam hired me because he wanted to see what he could “make out of me”. But what a journey it has been!
YW: What piece of work inspires you the most?
DM: As a fashion photographer, I always strive to shoot like Mario Testino, Ryan Mcginley. Kate Moss by Mario Testino inspired me a lot, in terms of angles, photography and story-telling. I sometimes try to put a fine art spin on my work, inspired by Dali (the better one lol), Monet, Van Gogh.”
YW: What is your greatest achievement up to dates in terms of your creative work?
DM: I wanna say being on the cover of Maxim Africa, among others. It’s also a great sense of achievement to hear from other fellow photographers that they shot a certain project inspired by me. (My project Tree and the Desert is a good example!).
YW: What is your favourite part of the creative process?
DM: Out there shooting. It’s always a great experience and joy to create with fellow artists: models, makeup artists, hair artists, stylists. It’s also a great feeling turning raw images into something people, especially the team involved, will like.
YW: Is there anything you wish you did differently in terms of your creative development?
DM: I wish I could start earlier when I was in Europe, and I wish I had been courageous enough to reach out to fellow artists for projects.
YW: You get to travel a lot – tell us about a place that has inspired you to create.
DM: There are so many places that inspire me, Oxford, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Paris, the Alps, Cusco (Peru), Los Angeles, to name only a few. I think more importantly, it’s the people you meet. They are the story tellers, that’s why even when I’m shooting landscape, I always prefer to have people in them.
YW: If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be?
DM: I love this question: make a wish and hope it comes true. I think I would love to be able to work with Kate Moss, Natalie Portman, Karlie Kloss, Adriana Lima, etc., any one of them.