In my own time, my subject of interests include, but not limiting to: nature and wildlife, architecture, citycape, portraits, and light painting -- where images are created from light source(s) drawn in mid-air during a long-exposure shot.
In addition to still image photography, I have also collaborated with local artists to make video projects. I am constantly inspired by the many talents I see rising every day in my hometown. It pushes me to challenge myself and to be innovative with each and every assignment. Aside from photography, I also enjoy fine art and specialize in portraiture. On my good day, I like to go on a hike or cruise down the street on my skateboard with my four-legged partner in crime, Boomer.
I aspire to be the best person I can be today for I know not what tomorrow may bring.
My interest in photography started in high school, but it was not until college that I truly found a passion for it. As a premed student in my undergraduate years at Portland State University, I participated in a medical excursion program called Global Medical Brigade which introduced me to life in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. On this trip, each participant brought along 50lbs worth of medical supplies in each two suitcases allowed, and along with the little belongings I had with me I brought my Canon SD750 to document the journey. What started out as a way for me to document my personal experience for keepsake suddenly became a seed that grew within me and have changed my life to this day.
It was on this trip that I realized how privileged I am. I can recall villagers playing soccer with a plastic bottle cap and the children would raved at the sight of crayons and stickers. When I took out my camera, with the press of a button I could command magic to these people. People who have never seen an image of them on a digital screen before. Up until that point for me, a [digital] photograph was merely pixel of electronic data stored on a memory card the size of my thumb, but for them it were as if I had amazing power, and in the sense of privileges, I do. A person with privileges in a remote and devastated region is no different than a wizard who can turn stone to soup. To be able to capture their livelihood and essence of being; to capture that one moment in their life and immortalize on a brilliant screen, that is magic for some. In that moment, I came to understand the true potential of photography to impact others and how to appropriate convey that in a narrative. More importantly, it brought these people joy.
Having realized that photography could be used as a platform to fight against social injustice, I quickly became more and more engaged with it. I learned through trial and error and taught myself the basics. I am grateful for my experience in Honduras, which exposed me to life on the other side of the lens. It keeps me grounded and inspired to keep fighting hard for my goals while I, as a privileged person, still have access to these opportunities.
Many of my work since have been photojournalistic endeavors to document the social uprising in my local community, as well as local community art projects, local artists profiles and portraiture. My photography philosophy echoes the mission statement of PhotoVoice project, which is "for a world in which no one is denied the opportunity to speak out and be heard."
— BENJI [BAO] VUONG