Isolation Insights: Q&A with photographer Sirui Ma

Isolation Insights: Q&A with photographer Sirui Ma
Isolation Insights: Q&A with photographer Sirui Ma

Isolation Insights: Q&A with photographer Sirui Ma

We caught up with photographer Sirui Ma to chat how she first got into the creative industry, her favourite pieces online and much more as she resides in her London home.

Garbstore: How did you get into the creative industry?
Sirui Ma: I started by doing a lot of unpaid internships… I first thought I wanted to get into styling, and after interning for a few stylists I realised it wasn’t really what I wanted. Then I reached out to a photographer whose work I really admired and became his assistant. He became my mentor and really supported and encouraged me. I began working with friends for free/fun, making images we loved, and it went from there.

GS: What are your personal highlights in your work / career so far?
SM: I still feel really amazed that I get to do what I love for a living. That’s really the highlight for me, that people see something in my work that they identify with or see value in. I feel really privileged to be able to make my living as a photographer.

GS: How has your day-to-day work changed since lockdown?
SM: Working with analog processes, everything’s been brought to a halt as I haven’t had access to the facilities I usually use. But it’s been nice to stop for a while and reconsider a lot of things and take some time to unwind and relax my mind a bit, through reading, music, and cooking. I feel like normally life is so full of distractions, I’ve probably put off some pretty important things like cooking and exercise pre-lockdown, and now I feel like I’ve got a really healthy home routine that will hopefully continue post-lockdown.

I’ve also began working on an online charity auction – Artists for Asian American Federation (@artistsforaaf) – with some friends of mine, which will hopefully launch early May. Asian American Federation is a U.S. based non-profit organization that is currently supporting Asian businesses and communities impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a cause so close to my heart and it’s really giving me a sense of purpose to work on this with my community and be able to help others.

GS: How are you maintaining a positive headspace throughout everything going on?
SM: We are not alone in this! It’s important to remember that the whole world is going through this and there is nothing we can do about it. Everything is on pause for good reason. So why not make the most of the time we have now to do something you didn’t have time for before. A new hobby, meditation, yoga… etc.

GS: What's the first thing you'll do post-lockdown?
SM: Hug my friends.

GS: What’s your favourite piece online at Garbstore?
SM: Ripple Glass Set of 4 Grey - One of my New Year's resolutions was to drink more water... Ever since lockdown I have been really working hard on this... Hahah! Long Sleeve Cotton Gem Tee Off-White - This looks like something comfy that I can lounge at home all day in (but also look cute in for a video chat).

GS: What’s next in the pipeline for you?
SM: Just before lockdown, I had begun working on a long-term personal project which I’m really excited about. So hopefully I will be able to resume soon!