Little is heard about small towns in China. It is nevertheless one of those small towns that is so dear to the heart of Constant Ma. In this interview, he tells us about his vision of travel photography through his experiences in the city of Yueyang, located in the northeast of Hunan province in China.
Hi Constant, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Constant Ma, and I am currently residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada. My family immigrated to Canada when I was 6 years old from Hong Kong, China. I have a young beautiful family and photography has been a hobby of mine since 2010.
How were you introduced to photography?
A good friend of my wife was an avid amateur photographer and he introduced me to the world of photography in 2009. However, I never took this hobby seriously until 2016 and started to discover what Instagram had to offer. Unfortunately, our friend left us over the summer when he was involved in a motor vehicle accident while he was exploring the Sequoia National Park in California with his wife.
What kind of landscapes inspire you?
A mixture of urban and natural environments inspire me. The amazing thing about photography, is how it changes your outlook on your day to day environment. You start to appreciate the beauty of everyday things and what appears to be normal and unimportant to most people, with the right framing and creativity, you can take a photo that conveys the emotions of the time you capture an image.
What do you wish to communicate through your photos?
I tend not to manipulate the photo to convey a certain message I want, I usually let the photo speak of the emotion or situation at the time I took the picture. With every photo I take, I only try to amplify the feeling of the photo through framing, and post processing.
You wanted to share your pictures of Yueyang, a small town in China. What does this place represent for you?
I have a very deep connection to this small beautiful city for many reasons. My wife was born and raised here, and it was the city where I asked her parents for her hand. It was also the city where we got married in China. It is also considered my third home.
What does Yueyang have that you didn’t find anywhere else?
In a culture rich country such as China, it’s very easy to have vast contrast differences between every city. In Yueyang, they have a particular dialect only spoken here. Their diet consists primarily of spicy foods, and this particular city has a rich history dating as far back as 3000 years.
How do you prepare for a travel? Do you think about the photos you’re going to take up front or do you let yourself be inspired on the moment?
It depends on the destination. If the destination is somewhere completely foreign where I am completely unfamiliar with the city, or landscape, I tend to try and do a bit of research before hand to ensure I best use my time while visiting. However, if I’m travelling to an area I’m somewhat familiar, I tend not to do any research and let myself be inspired in the moment.
What photo gear do you take with you when you travel?
I always travel light, I carry my trusty Canon DSLR, a 18-130mm, 10-18mm ultra wide, and my nifty 50mm for spontaneous portraitures/street photography. I also have a small tripod, and a few filters such as ND filter, and UV filter for very bright days. I recently added a small compact Drone to my kit and expect to take some new perspective photos this summer.
What is your dream destination?
There are too many to list just one, so I’ll have to give you a few: Japan, Iceland, Thailand, and the Maldives.
And your next one?
I will travelling to Vienna, Prague and back to Paris again this summer.
See more of Constant’s work on his Instagram