Over the summer I had the pleasure of staying with Harley Maya’s family in their lovely “finca” on the island of Ibiza. A sanctuary-like space filled with various objects of affection from her parents travels through India accompanied by a whiff of fresh breeze coming from the gorgeous Balearic island that has long set itself apart as a refuge full of possibilities, where culture, nature and fun are intertwined.
Maya is a true free-range child with an eye for aesthetics, who loves to intuitively move her body, is a true animal lover and a devoted earthling. Her photography is deeply rooted in nature and mysteriously dreamlike. I asked Maya a couple questions about her creative process, what inspires her in the present moment and much more… for us to take a glimpse into her world.
Interview by Eva Davidová
Where are you currently based and how is it inspiring you?
Returning to my cherished birthplace, the vibrant island of Ibiza, has proven to be an incredible wellspring of inspiration to me. After exploring different corners of the world and nurturing a second home in Mexico, the currents of life have led me back to the very roots from which I sprouted.
Ibiza offers a fertile ground for creativity to flourish. The pot of diverse cultures & the free-spirited atmosphere allows me to play where artistic expression knows no bounds. Here I am welcomed into a non-judgmental space. The undeniable tranquil nature also plays a significant role in nurturing my inspiration.
When did you first discover your passion for photography?
I discovered a passion for photography at a tender age, probably around 12/13 years old. It all started when a friend received a camera. I remember spending countless hours creating and photographing each other. We would style ourselves in our parents clothes, and venture into the nature on our island. Our creations were solely for ourselves. It was a time of carefree innocence. Uninhibited by fear or judgement and filled with a lot of playfulness.
Saying all of this, it’s only been in the recent year and a bit that I have picked up the camera again, a very dear person close to my heart gifted me the camera and it reignited the photography spark in me again.
Do you practice any other artistic expression?
I am deeply drawn to a multitude of artistic expressions. Among them, dancing holds a special place, as it allows me to gracefully move my body and connect with the depths of my being.
Recently, I have been humbled and grateful to share my movement workshops at women’s retreats inspiring me to offer more in the near future. In addition to dancing, my love for styling is a testament to my genuine admiration for all forms of beauty. Whether in nature, the inviting coziness of well-crafted homes or in people.
“The pre-capture connection before a photo shoot serves as an essential bridge between us allowing trust to blossom and creating a space of safety and openness.”
Do you have any rituals before you shoot?
One important ritual for me is to always connect beforehand with the person I’m going to capture, as it sets the foundation for a meaningful and authentic creative process.
The pre-capture connection serves as an essential bridge between us allowing trust to blossom and creating a space of safety and openness. I believe when individuals are heard, seen and valued there are more likely to express their true selves, resulting in a genuine creative collaboration where vulnerability is welcomed and celebrated.
What are some creative projects you have planned for the near future?
I find it challenging to plan ahead, as recent experiences have taught me how swiftly circumstances can change. However, I’m grateful for the upcoming opportunity to participate & photograph in a series of beautiful retreats over the next couple of months in Indonesia, Costa Rica & Mexico. Within the gaps of these retreats I’ve left plenty of space for creative sparks and beautiful collaborations!
How has growing up in ibiza shaped your personality?
I’m deeply grateful to my parents and their decision to make Ibiza our nest. Their yearning for a life of freedom and authenticity led them here. It was after their years spent traveling and living in India that they first heard whispers of the island. With only 2.000 euros between them and a baby on the way, Me. Growing up here, I experienced true luxury in simplicity. Swimming naked in turquoise waters, playing barefoot & being part of a caring, open-minded community.
Ibiza has shaped my personality in countless ways. Surrounded by diverse souls from around the world, I’ve learned resilience and the power of love and acceptance. It’s been my sanctuary of growth, teaching me the beauty of simplicity and the richness of human connection & nature.
“Growing up in Ibiza, I experienced true luxury in simplicity. Swimming naked in turquoise waters, playing barefoot & being part of a caring, open-minded community.”
How close are you to your family?
I cherish the deep bond I have with my family. We are tight-knit of four, consisting of my parents and my brother. While most of our extended family live in different countries. We currently all live in the same “finca” a very old traditional house from ibiza. Yes, sometimes crazy, but beautifully crazy. One of my dad’s love languages is food. Gathering for our early daily dinners creates an important space to connect & come together. My parents aren’t just my parents, they are also my best friends.
I share practices like breath work, meditation and yoga with my mum; while we also go out and celebrate together as a family & strong community. Each of us brings our unique and authentic different selves to the table, and yet, there is a profound understanding and acceptance which allows love to thrive.
You have a deep love for animals and the natural world. What are some of your favorite grounding practices you embody daily?
My mum ignited and taught me to love and care for animals, and it’s part of who I am. I feel at home when there are animals around me. My grounding practices can change with the seasons of life, but two things I always make time for are meditation and being in nature. I love starting my day as much as possible with a meditation (even if it’s short, and I’m feeling extra lazy). I love making mornings a ritual, even my first cup of matcha or coffee is my blissful moment, sitting outside feeling the first sun-rays on my face. I can’t go without my daily dose of nature, whether it’s an early morning swim with my mum and Zaza (our great swimming dog) or a hike depending on the day. Whenever I feel uneasy, being in nature always brings me to balance. If I’m extra anxious I walk barefoot.
What’s your favorite color?
I would love to answer one solid color, but my favorite color changes depending on where I’m at in life. In this present moment, I’m called to Green.
Favorite song of the moment?
Sana Corazón by Alex Serra
Thank you so much, Maya.