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QT Luong: Statement - Bio - Press

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I celebrate the splendor and variety of the natural and human heritage with my photography. For the past twenty-five years, I have been privileged to travel, trek, and climb in some of the most remote and beautiful corners of the earth. Laying down in a colorful meadow dense with wildflowers, clinging precariously to a vertical icy mountain face, listening to the silence of desert sand dunes or to the calls of a bustling floating market might seem like very different experiences, however, I feel that they share the same life-affirming benefits. In a society where too many artificial sensory inputs are available, these simple experiences can make us feel more connected to the world. They give us a sense of beauty, chaotic order, and liveliness that enrich our lives. Through my photography, I have tried to convey these feelings of wonder and passion to the viewers. Favoring clarity and truthfulness, I seek to give a sense of place and time by letting the viewer experience through the images as much as I saw myself. I like to emphasize beauty, as I feel that aesthetic appreciation will lift our soul and eventually lead to awareness and respect for the natural and cultural diversity of our planet.

Born in France, from Vietnamese parents, I was originally trained as a scientist (Ecole Polytechnique X84, PhD University of Paris), and made a few fundamental contributions to the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing, detailed in The Geometry of Multiple Images (MIT Press, with Olivier Faugeras).

In the mid eighties, my life was transformed by the wilderness of mountains. As a climber, and then mountain guide, I was initially interested in photography as a means to communicate to people who weren't there the wonders I had seen on the high peaks of the Alps.

Although I am no longer involved in difficult technical climbing, this participatory approach to photography continues these days with adventure travels, which have taken me to five continents. I am fortunate that my work could span an immense geographic range, from climbing the summit of Mt. McKinley in Alaska, to scuba diving under tropical seas.

In 1993, another turning point happened. Attracted by the proximity of Yosemite - and its famous cliffs - I found my way to the University of California, Berkeley for what was originally planned as a short stay. There, inspired by the rich tradition of American landscape photography, I learned to use the large format camera, founding in the process the primary internet resource for large format photographers.

At that same time, I felt in love with the National Parks, and set out for a monumental nature photography project that had not been completed by anyone: photographing all of them with the large format camera. To complete the project, I made my home in the San Francisco Bay Area. My years of experience of outdoor adventuring proved useful when exploring the backcountry of many parks, occasionally hiking in trail-less terrain with a 70-lbs backpack, paddling kayaks and canoes during extended expeditions.

Although I am still creating new photographs of the parks - now harnessing digital technology to execute images which couldn't be made in the past - by the summer of 2002, I had made large format photographs of the 58 National Parks when I set up my camera on the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes in Arctic Alaska (see picture). In 2009, Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan featured me as one of the few living characters in the PBS film The National Parks: America's Best Idea.

I had found an audience since 1995 with my first website, the Mountain Gallery, which was expended into this website and led to many publications in more than thirty countries. As it became one of the most visited of individual photographer's websites, I turned to photography full-time, with prints and license sales from terragalleria.com providing the sole source of income for our family. I currently live in San Jose, California, with my wife and two children.


Treasured Lands, National Heritage Museum 2010-2012
more exhibitions (photos)


Spectacular Yosemite, Rizzoli Universe, 2011
Beautiful North America, Parragon, 2007
Selected credits and client list


150 years of photography in Yosemite, Al Jazeera America, July 4, 2014
The National Parks, America's Best Idea, a film by Ken Burns, 2009   (about my part)
National Parks from Sea to Shining Sea, "The 9" from Yahoo! with Maria Sansone, Sept 11, 2006

Selected Press

Outdoor Photographer, Transient As The Light, March 2013 link pdf
Patriot Ledger, Photographer captures the beauty of America's national parks, March 31, 2011 link pdf
The New York Times, Frugal Traveler Column: History Beyond Boston, Dec 21, 2010 link pdf
Rangefinder Magazine, Quang-Tuan Luong: Photographing America's National Parks, June 2010 pdf
The Boston Globe, America the Beautiful, by Mark Feeney, March 26, 2010 link pdf
Daily News Tribune, Explore U.S. National Parks through National Heritage Museum exhibit, March 18, 2010 link pdf
The Boston Globe, This Land is Our Land, March 1, 2010 link
Parks Magazine, Luong Journey, Winter 2009-2010 pdf
National Geographic Explorer, America the Beautiful, Oct 2009 pdf
Evergreen Times, The Science of Art, August 29, 2008 link pdf
Người Việt, Xem người Việt đầu tiên triển lãm hình 58 công viên quốc gia Mỹ , August 13, 2008 pdf (in Vietnamese)
The State, Nature photographer points his lens at Congaree, January 5, 2007 pdf
Digital Photographer (UK), Cities in the Sky, issue 22, 2004 pdf
View Camera Magazine, Quang-Tuan Luong: The National Parks Project, Sept-Oct 2003 pdf
Souvenirs from High Places, A History of Mountaineering Photography, by Joe Bensen, The Mountaineers, 1998, pp 138-139

Web Interviews

Aperture Academy: Featured Photographer, November 2011
johnlund.com: series of conversations with people of interest in stock photography
photo.net: January 2009 featured member

More Information

Shorter bios: official bios of various length written in the third person
Extra bits of biographical information: often requested by students
The National Parks Project: Q&A about QT Luong most important project to date.
Photography information: the technical details, and a few location notes.

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