1. What is something not too many people know about you?
Something most people don't know about me is that I studied Psychology and am fascinated by the social sciences. I attended a small liberal arts school called Pomona College in Southern California, where my mind was blown learning about the historical roots behind different human experiences, societal structures, and implications in our day-to-day lives. My favorite classes besides those in Psychology were in Sociology, Anthropology, and Asian American Studies, and I love incorporating my intellectual interests into my photography through documentary work. In my senior thesis project (graduation requirement) I examined via scientific research, interviews, and documentary film and photo a very particular subject: "MDMA Usage among Asian American Young Adults in the Electronic Dance Music Scene", which explores specific sociocultural factors affecting substance use patterns. The whole project is on my website and is an interesting off-shoot from my typical photography work.
2. What are your biggest passions?
As vague as it sounds, my biggest passion is people. I care so much not just for the people around me, but for humanity and everyone's right to a good life. Photography fuels my passion in that I get to capture people at their best, in their proudest moments and most beautiful light. As someone who has struggled with mental health and particularly self-image, I find photography to be enormously powerful in how people see themselves and present themselves to others.
3. What are your goals for the future?
My goals are to continue leveraging my photography career to meet new people and experience new environments. I just moved into Los Angeles, so I'm excited to be surrounded by creatives and find fresh inspiration. Ultimately, I aim to move out of California and hopefully out of the country, but I know I need a stable foundation in my work before I can do so.
4. What is your definition of success?
Success may be defined so diversely, but what first comes to mind is living a fulfilling life. For me, I strive not simply for happiness but for meaning and impact. I'm proud of how my photography career has inspired those close to me and I'd like to expand my reach more broadly, likely via social media and other online platforms (the power of technology!). I measure my success by my positive influence on others and thus feel greatly rewarded when people tell me how I've shaped their growth.
5. Tell us something about the projects you're working on.
My current project focuses on the experience of travel. I want to portray the thoughts and sentiments of those traveling and/or living in new places, especially to highlight cultural differences and people's relationships to environments outside their own. I have photos to share from my travels in Stockholm, Hong Kong, and various U.S. national parks, and am visiting Japan this month. Stay tuned!
Featured: Maddie Park, Thao Tran, Cathy Pham, Justin Salazar, Maddie Park
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