My name is Sam. I am a wedding photographer based out of Austin, TX, and Chicago, IL.
My parents came to America as refugees from Vietnam and settled in the small town of Newton, Kansas. There, they worked hard to provide opportunities for my siblings and me. At the age of nine, we moved to El Paso. It's here where I fell in love with the desert landscape and Mexican culture. The bold art, characterful buildings, and cuisine that told stories sparked my curiosity, especially surrounding food and hospitality. My dream to become a chef grew from this time. After completing my homework, I marathoned episodes of Iron Chef and A Cook's Tour late into the night.
I moved to Austin after high school to study chemistry at the University of Texas. Despite a trajectory to become a pharmacist, I could not shake my passion for food and took a job as a dishwasher. I worked my way up the line to become a sushi chef. The restaurant industry is taxing, yet, my character developed on account of this. Discipline, time management, and an appreciation for conversations with my customers on the other side of the glass counter. It exemplified that the way I show love is through food and conversation.
Eventually, I recognized a need for a different life path and exited the food industry, taking up photography. There I found solace and personal growth, discovering an artistic side I had never been familiarized with. I learnt to combine the technical aspect of photography with the aesthetics of sushi plating, carrying my desire to listen to and tell stories from behind a glass window to a camera.
I'm a hopeless romantic in an international long-distance marriage for almost twelve years. In my off time, I hike, canoe and backcountry camp in the Canadian Rockies with my wife, Brittany, and our rescue dog, Hobbit. My hope is to document people of all backgrounds, to honor their unique story and experience authentically.
“I am a passionate lover of the snapshot, because of all photographic images it comes closest to truth. The snapshooter’s pictures have an apparent disorder and imperfection, which is exactly their appeal and their style.
The picture isn’t straight. It isn’t done well. It isn’t composed. It isn’t thought out. And out of this imbalance, and out of this not knowing, and out of this real innocence toward the medium comes an enormous vitality and expression of life.”
- Lisette Model
Aventine by Agnes Obel
Norman Fucking Rockwell!
by Lana Del Rey
good kid, m.A.A.d city
by Kendrick Lamar
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Into the Spider-Verse
The Phantom Thread
Everywhere Everything All at Once
The Worst Person in the World
Return to the Obra Dinn
Paul Thomas Anderson
While many of my family photos are lost, I find inspiration in the collection of my partner's family photography albums. How they act as recollection devices for memory, honor the people who share chapters of our lives. The personal quirks, the candid imperfection, and give a deeper understanding of who we are. Below are a selection of my favorites that exemplify the place I hope my images will hold in your albums for years to come.
In 2015, my partner and I accidentally adopted a dog from the Austin Animal Center. On date night we volunteered walking dogs, as we had many times before. The hour was typical, with each subsequent dog excited to be out of their kennel dragging us around the facilities.
Now you know what inspires me.
To learn more about how I work see Information.