Phyllis Ma is a New York-based photographer working in still life photography and animation. She was a co-founder of LAZY MOM, a food art project active from 2014-2018. Recently she’s developed an obsession for foraging and photographing mushrooms.
We are fans of the project Lazy Mom so we were so thrilled to see Phyllis wearing our Cloud Jumpsuit in a feature on Vogue in 2019. Our outdoorsy inspired collection, Take a Hike, felt like the perfect opportunity to work with fungi forager, Phyllis.
Hey Phyllis, Happy New Year to you! How are you?
Happy New Year! I’m doing pretty okay, considering we’re in the midst of a global pandemic and there was an insurrection at the US Capitol last week. Thanks for asking!
Your work is fascinating and we are so happy with the outcome of the collages that you created for us and our Take a Hike collection. How did you get into foraging and photographing mushrooms?
I was interested in connecting my still life photography with sustainability, and mushrooms seemed like a perfect intersection. I visited Smallhold, an organic mushroom farm in Brooklyn and was inspired to create portraits of gourmet mushrooms.
Learning about cultivated mushrooms naturally inspired me to try foraging as well, and it really opened up a rabbit hole for me. As a climber and hiker, I’m often out in nature, but I had never paid close attention to mushrooms before. And anyone who’s a mycophile can attest: once you start noticing mushrooms, you see them everywhere. It quickly snowballs into a total obsession.
The collages for the Take A Hike collection were composed with photos from hikes and walks all around New York City. Identifying wild mushrooms can be confusing and tricky, and I often take a ton of photos in the field, hoping to capture all the characteristics necessary for a proper id. It was fun to remix the photos into collages for the collection.