Lao-American photojournalist Khampha Bouaphanh talks to VOA about his job, shooting pictures for news agencies, He has received many medals for his works, including the 2005 Dallas Star-Telegram Photojournalist of the Year, and the 2006 Houston Press Club’s Photojournalist of the Year.
Khampha says…”Being a photojournalist is like being an eye to the world. I want the world to really see what I see through my lens. Image is very powerful. It is more powerful than any weapon. Media and photo have changed the public eyes, and have gone where we had never gone before in the past. This changed has made photojournalism a more challenging task, making it more difficult to obtain images to present to the world.
Khampha also told VOA that throughout his career,
he has traveled to many different places around the world to witness and confront all situations. His remarkable works include pictures of the Iraqi war, the Katrina Hurricane, the Indonesia Tsunami, etc... Shooting these catastrophic scenes of war, hurricane, tsunami, and talking and interviewing people has changed Khampha’s way of looking at life. He said he has grown up a lot and now takes things in life seriously. He see his own problems much smaller now compared to the life and death problems that other people face every day in places like Iraq.
Khampha held a Bachelor Degree of Fine Arts in Painting from Boston University. Currently, he works as a photojournalist for The Associated Press, based in Phoenix, Arizona. Khampha and his family escaped from Laos to Thailand and resettled in Fort Worth, Texas in 1980 when Khampha was only 6 years old. Even though he has spent most of his life in the United States, Khampha still feels attached to his Laotian roots. He says…”Even thought I am a U.S. citizen, I always feel that I am Laotian. My heart longs to go back to Laos.
In the future, I would like to go back to Laos to shoot pictures about Laotian people, their way of life and every thing about Laos.”
He also added…”Being an Asian-American photojournalist - particularly a Laotian American, sometimes I was looked down at as small and incompetent. And somehow, it made me feel that I am still a minority after all. But Despite it all, I don’t let any thing discourage me from getting to the top.
I believe in hard-working and determination.”
Khampha ended our VOA’s interview with this quote “To be a great photojournalist, you have to shoot with your heart and soul”
Listen to our audio report for more details.
For additional information and more pictures by Khampha, please go to http://www.khamphaphoto.com