Patrolling the street with Boomie. Summer 2013.

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 belongs I had with me I brought my Canon SD750 to document the journey. What was simply intended to document my personal experience for keepsake became a seed that grew in me and changed my life to this day
 
It was on this trip that I realized how privileged I am. I can recall villagers whom we provided service for playing soccer with a plastic bottle cap and the children would raved at the sight of crayons. And when I took out my camera, with a push of the button suddenly magic was real to these people. Up until that point, for me, a [digital] photograph was merely pixels of electronic data stored on a memory card the size of my thumb. But for them it were as if I was a wizard who had captured their existence of being; their moment in life forever immortalized on a brilliant screen. In that moment, I really did came to understand the true potential of photography to convey 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 inspired and reminds me to keep fighting hard for my goals while I at the least still have the opportunity to do so.
 
Many of my work since have been photojournalistic endeavors to document the social uprising in my local community. My philosophy also echoes the mission statement of PhotoVoice, which is "for a world in which no one is denied the opportunity to speak out and be heard."
 
In my own time, my subjects of interest include, but not limiting to: nature and wildlife, architecture, citycape, musicians, sports, special events, 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 be challenge myself and to be innovative each and every day. Aside from photography, I also enjoy fine art and specialize in portraiture. On my good day, I get to go on a hike or skate ride with my partner in crime, Boomer.

— BENJI [BAO] VUONG