Today we’d like to introduce you to Philip Nguyen.
Hi Philip, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Growing up, I had always loved being creative. From sketching my favorite cartoon characters in elementary school to tinkering with Photoshop in high school, I always found myself enjoying the creative process. But I had never considered myself an artist much less have any thought of ever pursuing a creative career. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, I grew up in a very traditional household. My family immigrated to the United States, as refugees from the Vietnam War and worked tirelessly to try to make ends meet. I was brought up believing in the American dream; that a college education and a stable job was the pathway to success and fulfillment. So I got my degree in Computer Information Systems at the University of Houston and it wasn’t long until I found myself knee-deep in Corporate America. But very quickly, I realized that corporate life was not for me and that I needed to change things up.
After three grueling years in the corporate world, I decided to spontaneously quit my job in 2016, sold a bunch of my possessions, and set out on a three-month backpacking journey throughout Europe. It was initially meant as a sabbatical, a chance to see what else is out there with no clear goals really. As I traveled to these amazing places, I started to take my photography, which was a very new hobby for me at the time, much more seriously. I found myself invigorated again, bringing me back to my younger days of being creative. In those three months alone, I developed a deep passion for photography and traveling and went from not knowing what the next chapter of my life would be to suddenly knowing exactly what I wanted to do with my life. Long story short, the years following have been the most fun, challenging, and life-changing years of my life. At the end of 2018, I decided to move out to LA to push my career in photography even further and started to learn filmmaking. In the process, I’ve discovered a newfound passion for visual storytelling and conveying emotion through both stills and motion.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It was definitely not a smooth road at all. Transitioning from a stable, well-paying career to suddenly having to find my own clients and not knowing where the next paycheck was going to come from was nerve-wracking at times. Luckily, I had the foresight to build up some financial cushion for myself before I made the leap. But early on, every job and gig I got was the result of being very persistent and determined, but more importantly, very hopeful. It’s easy to get discouraged when you first set out in a freelancing career. There will be tons of rejections and disappointments along the way as well as the common creative struggle of comparing yourself to others. But realizing that everyone goes through these things only gave me more confidence in myself.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Professionally, I’m a commercial photographer and videographer specializing in travel, lifestyle, and brand narrative. But in simpler terms, I’m a storyteller, using a visual medium to either tell a story about a moment in time or convey emotions to an audience. I lean very heavily on empathy so I strive to make my work connect with others in a way that is relatable, authentic, and inspiring.
Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
Don’t be afraid of change. In our results-driven society, we’re too often held prisoners of what others have painted us out to be. Whether it’d be out of fear of being left behind or pressure from parents or peers. We’re so quick to box ourselves in and then ultimately feel claustrophobic when too much of our value and time have been placed on other people’s opinions. What makes us human is our ability to change, grow, and adapt. Don’t feel like what you’ve always been doing is something you need to continue to do. If it doesn’t feel right, change it. If it longer serves you or makes you a better person, move on from it. We are often afraid to let other people down. But even if change and growth consequentially end up as disappointment for others, it’s ultimately more vital for you to follow your own truth, wherever it ends up taking you.