We sat down with AWA+D photographer and longtime supporter Paul Vu to ask what inspires him, and why he believes in AWA+D.1.Can you tell us a little about your background, education, early career?I was raised in Alaska, which fostered a love for exploration. Los Angeles was where I was born, so returning only felt natural. I earned a Bachelors in Urban and Regional Planning followed by a Masters in Architecture in 2010 at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. I initially began practicing architecture at studios like Shimoda Design Group but my focus transitioned into immersive and interactive design, and my architectural photography business started taking off. At this point I became a freelancer in order to cultivate both interests. My next endeavor is likely to be support architectures for autonomous vehicles.2. Why did you want to become a photographer?I found from an early age that I was very spatially aware and meticulous when it came to art and design - I really enjoyed resolving design details, so architecture became my pursuit. My development as a photographer couldn't have been more different, and began while studying abroad. I honestly had no interest in doing photography before that.3. Who have been your greatest influencers? Why?I've had so many wonderful influences - among the most enduring are Julius Shulman for his fastidious approach to visualizing architecture, Zaha Hadid for being a role model of unwavering tenacity, polymath Bran Ferren who taught me to think deeply to produce elegant solutions to even the most complex and complicated problems, and Los Angeles for being an incredible catalyst for my endeavors.4. What do you feel are some of your most important achievements?The most profound ones have been introspective in nature. By prioritizing empathy I have developed many longterm relationships. By incorporating meditation I can better approach adversity, uncertainty and traffic in Los Angeles. Cultivating these has found me dangling from open helicopters with a camera in hand. I've designed for the likes of Samsung, Steelcase and Bad Robot. Very soon I will have my first photography commission with Richard Meier's LA Studio.5. What are some of your insights on supporting women in architecture and design? How do you feel men can take an active role in ensuring progress happens?I am pleased to see more and more women in positions of leadership by the day. The AWA+D is an indispensable resource with a humanistic approach to being a designer in this day and age. Gender equality is improving, but we have a long way to go. There are still men who do not know they too can identify as feminists. If more men had access to the kinds of discussions hosted by the AWA+D we would surely accelerate meaningful change.6. What excites you creatively, spiritually or emotionally?Designing for the future of mobility. Developing the ecosystem for autonomous vehicles will have the broadest impact and create the most equity for people, help us reclaim the urban environment from underutilized parking lots for more humane spaces, and save lives by reducing auto related accidents by removing human error. It's thrilling to be on the ground floor of this movement.7. What role do/have you played in AWA+D and what is the importance of the organization in your life?I have had the pleasure of being the photographer for over a year now, and it has been important as it helps inform my efforts toward gender equality. Much of my design background has been in environments that ask individuals to make personal sacrifices in the name of design. The AWA+D has proven that it is not only possible to balance work and family life, but that many are doing it successfully. When we take better care of ourselves we have more to give back.