Spin-orbit interactions lead to distinctive functionalities in photonic systems. They exploit the analogy between the quantum mechanical description of a complex electronic spin-orbit system and synthetic Hamiltonians derived for the propagation of electromagnetic waves in dedicated spatial structures. We realize an artificial Rashba-Dresselhaus spin-orbit interaction in a liquid crystal–filled optical cavity. Three-dimensional tomography in energy-momentum space enabled us to directly evidence the spin-split photon mode in the presence of an artificial spin-orbit coupling. The effect is observed when two orthogonal linear polarized modes of opposite parity are brought near resonance. Engineering of spin-orbit synthetic Hamiltonians in optical cavities opens the door to photonic emulators of quantum Hamiltonians with internal degrees of freedom.