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Meet Sokhean Chea

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sokhean Chea.

Sokhean, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’ve owned a camera for as long as I could remember but it didn’t really become a big part of me till I graduated from university and moved back home. I was struggling to find an engineering job. I sent out many resumes and went on tons of interviews. The stress got to me, that’s when I decided to go for a walk in the mountains by myself. Back then I wouldn’t even call it hiking because I didn’t really know anything about it. I just knew I needed a place to be alone to think. Next thing I knew I became obsessed with the outdoors, the ideas that there is so much out there. From there, I told myself I hoped to see, feel and hear all there is in the world.

I started hiking almost every weekend. In the beginning, I usually took pictures at the top of the mountains only because I thought the views up there were the best. Eventually, I built up stamina, learned about hiking gears, started taking more pictures, creating stories and sharing them online.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It had been a steep learning curve. One, being in the mountains, I taught myself how to read maps, get familiar with the trails and hiking gears. When I first started hiking, I usually hiked solo so I got to know what I was doing. Two, I wanted to do more with my camera so I watched tutorials on YouTube on how to shoot in manual and edit photos using Lightroom and Photoshop.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
Right now I’m an engineer full time. Hiking and photography are the big passions that I pursue in my free time. I hiked almost everywhere in LA and its surrounding mountains. I capture mostly landscapes but I have shot portraits in the past. I like to take and edit my landscape photos with the intention of telling stories, inviting people to be there.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I got inspired by many creatives on Instagram. I didn’t know anything about finding trails to hike when I first started. So I just looked up on Instagram. Everything just took off from there.

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