Kou Vang, is a Hmong American owner and photographer of Inspiring Elements since its inception in 2006. She combines her background as an award-winning graphic designer with her lifestyle photography style in serving the people throughout the midwest and beyond.
She has a M.A. in Art from Cardinal Stritch University and a B.A. in art from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Vang has received grants for photographic documentaries on Hmong Women and Culture from the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust Fund, Wisconsin Arts Board and the Institute of Race and Ethnicity.
Vang is the author of Portraits of Hmong Women, a photographic documentary essay bringing to light the voices, thoughts and perspectives of Hmong Women. In doing so, it shows how the lives of Hmong women are complicated by a multitude of social and cultural factors, including difficult choices they must regularly confront.
She designed the cover jacket and has an essay in the book “Hmong and American: From Refugees to Citizens” released in 2014 by Mary Louise Buley-Meissner and Vincent Her. She considers herself to be a translator between the Hmong and the non-Hmong cultures because she understands how art can be used to communicate and bridge divides between these worlds. Vang understands the complexities of her people and cares deeply about the plight of Hmong women.
In her spare time, Vang is also a novice powerlifter (2019 72kg State Champion, open and master's), teaches group exercise classes at the YMCA and loves to spend quality time with her husband, five daughters and extended family. She also loves to eat, travel, eat and hike.
Photography is the story I fail to put into words.”