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Ari Simphoukham, a Self-Made Young Laotian-American Photagrapher


Ari or Arisack Simphoukham is a leading young Laotian-American photographer in the Los Angeles area, the oldest of four children born to Mr. Phoukeo and Ngai Simphoukham. They fled Laos to Thailand and spent sometimes in a refugee camp in the Philippines before finally arriving in the United States in 1987, and settling down in Stockton, California, where they have lived ever since.


Ari’s fascination about photography surfaced in high school where he had to do a project for his senior year. And of course, he did his research in photography. His interest in that field deepened when he attended university. After spending a few years at the University of California at Davis studying Political Sciences, he realized that he wanted to pursue his interest in photography and make a career out of it.

From that day onward, Ari became a self-taught photographer as he told VOA “I’ve never had a formal training in photography. I taught myself. I would spend hours in book stores, reading anything about photography. It was not easy when I first started taking photography as a career choice. Since I’ve never had formal training, I am a self-taught photographer. Nowadays, everyone can be a photographer because digital cameras are very cheap. You have to keep practice, work at it every single day. Do search to learn from pros, volunteer or even pay for it.”

Ari’s wedding photography is his outstanding achievement, unique and different from everyone else’s because he not only captures the beautiful moments, but also captures the stories behind those beautiful images. Ari says he feels very proud knowing that he has become a part of people lives, once he captured the once-in-a-lifetime moment.

Ari concluded our interview with this…
"My recommendation to the younger generation out there is that…Go for what you want in life. Be patient, work hard and be determined to pursue what you want. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything in life because anything is possible and you can do it."

Currently, Ari lives and works in Los Angeles, California. For additional info go to http://www.justari.com/

Listen to the whole interview in Lao by clicking any audio files above.

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