Today we’d like to introduce you to Judeus Samson.
Judeus, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
First of all, thank you, Voyage LA, for reaching out to do an interview and am humbled to share my story with your readers. As an immigrant from the Philippines, I’ve accomplished things many people from my country only dream about — become a US citizen, earn a college degree, and work in a field I studied. Hopefully, my story serves as an inspiration to anyone who can relate.
I moved to the United States with my mom, Maribelle, when I was only two years old. We headed to Michigan where she married my dad, Andrae, and they had my younger sister, Porsha. In the 29 years living in Michigan, I was exposed to many different cultures raised by my mom, who is full-blooded Filipina, and step-dad who is African-American. I was the typical kid who loved playing video games, drawing and watching Saturday morning cartoons, but I didn’t know of many people who shared the same unique experience which helped shape the way I value the world and its people. I attended predominantly white schools, attended predominantly black churches, and grew up with Filipino traditions.
I grew up in a small town in Michigan called Warren, and in my sophomore year, our family moved about an hour south to another small town called Taylor, where I eventually graduated high school. In college, I started studying Engineering at a local community college, went through most of the program for several years, but ended up switching my major after a couple failed attempts to pass Calculus 2– math, of all things, the very thing I excelled in and a favorite subject all throughout grade school. I was pretty devastated. However, in the larger story, the switch set me up for where I am today. I could have switched to something in the medical field. A lot of my family members were extremely smart, passionate nurses and doctors, but I wanted to blaze my own path. Something where I could still learn about different cultures, people, and be in a creative environment.
At the time, I had picked up Photoshop which opened up some really great doors to work alongside a few names in the music industry. This lead to learning about branding, advertising, and marketing. The creative industry was fascinating! Eventually, I changed my major to Marketing. I had found a new passion, but it was daunting since nobody in my family (If you’ve ever been at a Filipino party you know how large their families can be) worked in this field, nor Filipinos for that matter. It was tough to tell my parents about the switch because they had worked so hard to put me through many years of college, only for me to switch up the plan, but they were very supportive.
I graduated from the University of Michigan with my BA in marketing and landed an entry-level position at my current advertising agency, which at the time, was just a few blocks away from the middle school I attended in Warren, what a way for things to come full circle. The people were extremely smart about culture, passionate about creativity, and always willing to share their knowledge. I knew it was where I wanted to be and it felt right. What excited me the most was learning the company had offices in New York and Los Angeles. Where I am from, people tend not to leave far from their communities, friends, and families. If anyone left it was usually for cities like Chicago, New York, or somewhere down South. Very rarely did I hear of anyone leaving for California.
For me, LA was never a real destination, just a dream. It was intriguing knowing an opportunity could be there, to head to either one of the largest cities in the world, it was all about timing. A couple of years went by, our company relocated offices to a burgeoning Downtown Detroit, I loved everything the city offered and leaving Michigan hadn’t crossed my mind.
One day, out of curiosity, I took a look at the open positions at our agency and saw an opening in our Los Angeles office, the gears started to churn. Could this be it? I talked to my parents and supervisors. Everyone was supportive and the position had my name written all over it. I rocked the interview and landed the promotion. This was it! The process was fast. Within a month-and-a-half, I found an apartment in Hollywood, said goodbye to everyone I knew, attached a U-haul trailer to my car and took a four-day road trip across America by myself. It was the biggest whirlwind of events I had ever experienced.
That road trip opened my eyes to how large this world really is and wanted to share my experience with everyone I knew. The highlight was seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. It blew my mind at how gigantic it was, I was in awe. Pictures don’t do it any justice. It really is something you need to see in person. I wanted to see more, but that was the last stretch of the road trip and It was off to my last stop. After arriving in Los Angeles I felt a new energy, this was my new home.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I began taking photography seriously around November 2017 when a friend of mine chatted about doing a photo shoot, he had talked about getting into modeling and I mentioned something about having a Canon DSLR my parents bought for me as a Christmas present several years earlier. I’ve tinkered with cameras since I was a kid, recorded family events with my mom’s camcorder, volunteered for my church’s video department, but this was completely different.
I didn’t know the first thing about basic camera functions, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, what shooting in RAW meant. So I did what any normal person does, head to Google. I read articles, watched tutorials, started following photography accounts on social media. I went down a rabbit hole. At work I was learning about the importance of storytelling, being exposed to more diverse cultures around the city, and LA’s creative energy consumed me, it was a perfect storm. Back when I lived in Michigan I would overhear people talk about the energy they experienced here, I’ll tell you it is real.
I’m still very new to photography, but I love learning about it, seeing other photographer’s perspectives, collaborating with people who are in the same creative mindset and telling stories. My style of photography combines everything that inspires me: movies, superheroes, unique people, and fashion. When people see my photographs I want them to see characters living in their own worlds, different tones, provoke moods, and feelings. Each one unique in its own way.
Any advice for aspiring or new artists?
I’ve learned there’s nothing wrong with introversion, but I would encourage everyone to step out of their comfort zone, don’t be afraid to try new things, meet people and be the first one to introduce yourself. You will learn to value the people around you so much more.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/judeus.samson/
Ciera Nicole – https://www.instagram.com/imcieranicole2/, RocDavyd: The Vi-bru Shaman – https://www.instagram.com/riosirah/, Elizabeth Villalobos – https://www.instagram.com/elizabethandreaa_/, Tiana Powell – https://www.instagram.com/tianapowww/, Mario Bibian – https://www.instagram.com/bibianmario/, Ayda – https://www.instagram.com/aydie1/