My name is Ma Te, in Chinese is 马塔. The way to pronounce it is like Ma Ta. My inner self, I’m an observer and collector of Emotions and Human relations, I don’t like to see things disappear forever, however this is what happens every moment.
That’s why I call my photography emotional documentary and part of how I sign photos and a repeating symbol is the word Chai 拆, which is an official symbol used when a place breaks down.
Photography can hold the things I care about, in a way, I’m not very picky, any place means something for someone so it means something for me too. My inner self want to connect to present and past feelings at equal weight.
The China Dream, in my opinion is different from the American Dream. The Chinese Dream is something the Chinese government decided by themselves. One day the leaders started presenting the Chinese Dream project. That included many points, like by the year 2020 there will be no poor people anymore in China and the government started spreading information that they wanted to catch all criminals and made a long list who are counted as criminals: under this list were people with mental Illness and old people who are childless or the people who don’t want to move for the 拆. The government decided who could be criminals and beat them up. Also, homosexuality can’t be shown in media anymore and art galleries getting rules what they can and cannot show. For example two of my photos needed to be removed from an exhibition since they showed the Leader Mao Ze Dong in a non-acceptable manner. The Chinese Dream is how the government call it; I call it the China Dream because it’s not a dream dreamed by the Chinese people but by some other powerful people.
Both I guess, going places I never went meeting new people for doing photos. My heart feels like it’s made of glass at that moment. I often go out and find good places for photos following my fear, how more scared I am to go in a certain direction, so more I feel that I should.
I also ask strangers from the street If I can make a photo of them, though I don’t want to be rejected, but If I see someone interesting, I must capture that, because I’m also afraid I will regret if I didn’t. The part I feel relaxed about is meeting someone with whom we already agreed to do photos, telling people how to move and when they are following me, it makes easier for me to feel safe. After the photos are done and I look back, I think sometimes that was something I needed to do, but it’s also something I would only have done because of photography.
I had an exhibition at ‘Three Shadows’ gallery in Beijing which was very nice, It was a group exhibition with many other very good artists.
I also showed my book there, I made 2 books so far (‘The City of Dust’ and ‘The Concrete Dream’). Those books are self-published. ‘The City of Dust’ was self-printed and self-bind, it sold out now.
Both books were limited editions of 88 units. ‘The City of Dust’ is about Beijing, because that’s how I remembered the city - very dusty, yet the Dust carried feelings of the past. From emperors to Cultural Revolution and a city barely having space for its people, but then, again full of life.
‘The Concrete Dream’ is my reflection about the situation in China now, the pressure to work hard in order to archive material safety and to buy a House/Apartment. About the fast growth of cities built now and see later, if it’s needed. We are breathless, we had no time to think what makes us happy, we must build and buy, buy and build: an endless, so it seems like in a circle. I read somewhere that in 3 Years China uses as much concrete, as the USA in 100 years combined. And the time I read that was a few years ago as well already. I look up, I want to see the sky, but the sky gets smaller and smaller and the concrete keeps growing.