We had the good fortune of connecting with Ammala Rattanamongkhon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ammala, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Despite coming from an ethnic background and culture that values success only when you have a title like Doctor or professor, I still pursued a creative career in Photography. Not because I thought I’d be rich one day but only because it felt good at the time and I dreamt of traveling the world with my camera.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I spent my earlier years being criticized for being vain for feeling pretty, taking too many self-portraits, (now called selfies) and practicing too much in the mirror. But I’ve somehow turned those same hobbies into a career where I encourage other woman to love themselves and feel beautiful in their own skin. The photo sessions I provide often build self-esteem, self-love, and it most definitely is a form of self-care. I found my purpose. And I have spent over a decade building woman up and out of their shell. That’s something I’m proud to share.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m in love with everything Arizona! The overly friendly personable people, the artistic growing modern culture, and the endless number of things to do from 10 minutes away to 5 hours away. Most of my friends who touch down to Phoenix Arizona instantly have the innovative idea to head straight to the Grand Canyon or the beautiful antelope canyons, not realizing its 4-5 hours away and possibly an overnight or two-day trip. My idea of a great time includes, spa day, local hikes and scenic photo shoots, with a pinch of petting zoo to support the local farms. My favorite luxury spa is the award-winning Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia. Its nestled around scenic red Arizona mountains and surrounded by luxury homes and estates in Paradise valley area, which I often fantasize myself waking up in one of those estates, checking my mailbox and waving at the googly eyed tourist that drive by. Although Omni resort has that luxury feel of an out of the country Spanish villa along with matching luxury prices, they have an awesome day spa pass for travelers on a budget. $75 at Joya day spa at this resort will give you a full day pass to all their spa facilities and pool! They are the only ones in the area with this amazing deal. My second favorite must see area is near the phoenix zoo. Papago park is a photographer’s dream! There’s the popular hole in the rock you can hike 5 minutes up for the best fake it till you make it to Antelope canon photos. The red rocks are iconic for desert vibes photos. And right below the hole in the rock, there’s a desert botanical garden, and a pond surrounded by endless palm trees which reminds me of Palm Springs. Every corner of Papago park is a content creators dream. Depending on the time of year, I recommend going early at 7 or 8am before you melt in mid brunch temperatures reaching 120 degrees. There are so many local indoor things you can do also to stay out the heat like visit the local museums. For only $10 you can stand inside this giant modern spaceship hole in the ceiling to outer space masterpiece at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Its one of my favorite photos ever. Another fun museum for anyone who loves photos, seflies, and contemporary pop culture and Selfie world at Fashion square mall in Scottsdale. $25 gives you a no time limit access to like 12-14 different fun themed rooms to take photos and videos in. My girlfriends and I had the best time at selfie world Scottsdale! For the nature lovers I recommend looking up the best hiking trails that match your level of experience. There’s so many so I can’t list a favorite because each one gives such a different experience and view of Arizona. And last but not least, the most exciting place I visited recently was a small local petting zoo at Superstition Farm in Mesa Arizona. I love animals and had looked up a few places but everything was too far or needed reservations. Superstition farm is only about 30 minutes away from phoenix airport and most importantly, it only cost $3 to love on and feed all the sweet and silly animals. I have one advice while visiting farm animals though, don’t wear flipflops! Just remember farm animals are not potty trained and be mindful of where you walk and you will survive with cute cuddly hugs from goats, pigs, ducks, and even a donkey if he’s not too shy and hiding in the corner.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mother taught me confidence by reminding me how amazing I was despite our circumstance. We were refugees from Thailand, living on public assistance and barley getting by. But the kindness of the Christian churches who sponsored us, and the community that took us in and help path the way into this country is what made me who I am. Since my first day in America in 1986, I was confident that all my dreams would come true.