My earliest memory involving a camera came at the ripe age of 8. It was at a summertime wedding for my cousin. He had owned and operated his own studio photography business. He handed me a very big and presumably heavy looking camera that was so much more intricate than anything I’d laid hands on before. He told me to go wild. Mind you this was a film camera and digital was nothing more than a pipe dream at this point. I went nuts! The camera was an all-access pass to be anywhere that I wanted without question no less. I felt like a ninja or a spy that (would) was hiding in plain sight. Little did I know that this would play such a crucial role in my future.
I grew up in a very strict traditional Asian household. My parents were refugees from the Vietnam War looking to start new in America. For them being creative took a back seat to the more “practical” math and sciences. While they entertained my flights of fancy in music and art, I always had the expectation of being a lawyer, doctor, or accountant looming over me. My high school had a stellar photo program that involved in-depth photo concepts, black and white film, and darkroom development. This had been my creative escape from the rigors of the core curriculum and afforded me the comforts of creative expression.
One of my first shoots was for a family that consisted of grandma, her kids, their kids, and their kids. 4 generations at a park that they had grown up with. This was a rare occasion that everyone was in town for Thanksgiving and they wanted to capture that memory. It was an amazing experience to work with such a large family. That was a couple years ago, and just recently they contact me to let me know that grandma had passed, and these photos allowed them to have a memory that they could share with the great grand kids. For me, that’s what this is all about. Photos that invoke emotion and relate to a memory. You can’t get that in a studio.
What types of shoots have you done and how did you make them special?
I love working with all sorts of people to get them images that invoke a great sense of emotion. I really get to know what people want and sometimes even capture things they weren't sure they wanted but loved getting it in the end!
Awards, honors, and recognitions received
Featured in SDVoyager magazine
A fun fact about this photographer
I have a 2nd degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and have done a whole bunch of other martial arts growing up.