How Samantha Feyen Went Pro as a Young Fashion Photographer
Small town Maui girl Samantha Feyen is making her name as one of the youngest professional fashion photographers in Hawaiʻi.
At the age of 22, Samantha Feyen, known on Instagram as @Samantheeyo, is one of the youngest professional fashion photographers in Hawaiʻi. Growing up in both Thailand and Maui, Feyen’s photography journey began in high school, but it took off during her college career at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. While pursuing her bachelor’s degree in fashion design and merchandising, Feyen works as a fashion merchandiser and social media manager for local brands such as Ava Sky Hawaii, Jam’s World, and Love Me Knots Hawaii. Feyen’s a true local girl at heart, though her edgy yet simplistic style, pairing her favorite camo jacket with a pair of chunky boots, will have her mistaken for a city girl. Aside from her love for photography, she’s also a proud plant mom, dog lover (especially corgis), and quite the cook. We sat with Feyen to hear more about her inspirations and favorite spots around the city.
How did you know that you wanted to pursue photography as a career?
“I started photography merely on the basis of ‘beautiful things,’ and being completely obsessed with disposable cameras from the ABC stores. That’s how it all started, a bag of clothes from Savers, my trustee camera ‘Senorita Snaps’, and friends from home who were willing to do rad shit with me. Nothing ever made me want to pursue it professionally until I moved to Oʻahu, where I also got encouragement and the push I needed to work professionally.”
What makes working in Hawaiʻi different?
“In Hawaiʻi, if you don’t speak out, you blend into the background, and you just become another person that wants to do something creative. If you want to be known, or if you want to be heard, you have to reach out. And when you reach out you make connections, and when you make connections, usually in Hawaiʻi, it lasts for a really long time because you end up working with them over and over again. You end up helping each other with whatever happens in the future. That’s what I really like about Hawaiʻi relationships.“
What inspires you?
“Diversity and ethnicities that open my eyes to different versions and descriptions that aren’t traditional, but are still pure.”
How would you say your style has changed through the years?
“I’ve learned that what makes you stand out is the ability to not conform, and instead find your niche and authenticity. Just become who you’re meant to be as a photographer, and not what people want you to be.”
Where’s your favorite place to grab a bite?
“It would be Andy’s Sandwiches. The ahi melt with avocado, always. Duh.”
Where’s your favorite place to unwind?
“The place where I can unwind the most and can be at my most peace is up at Haleakala during sunrise in a secret spot where you can walk to the edge and it literally feels like the edge of the Earth.”
What beach do you photograph the most on O’ahu?
Kaiona beach. The blue water makes you feel like you’re in Tahiti!
Where’s your favorite place for a pau hana? [Editor’s note: Pau hana translates from Hawaiian to “done with work,” and is used for things like after-work outings and drinks]
“My pau hana spot is the Banan truck on Monsarrat Avenue. My favorite [banana soft serve] would be the greens with macnella – a macademia nut and chocolate spread – and papaya on top.