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.
To reach a large public, in 1995, I created my first website, the popular "Mountain Gallery". Shortly afterwards, my mountaineering images appeared in magazines in six countries and the book Souvenirs from high places, a history of mountaineering photography closed with two of my photographs. The Mountain Gallery was later expended into this website.
Although I am no longer involved in difficult technical climbing, this dynamic, participatory approach to photography continues these days with travels, which have taken me to five continents. I am fortunate that my work could span an immense geographic range, from the top of the coldest mountain on the earth to 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. In the process, I happened to create what many consider to be the primary technical resource for large format photography on the internet. The more contemplative approach that this type of exacting and demanding photography promotes, and the extremely detailed photos it produces are perfect in making the viewer feel part of the landscape.
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 at that time: photographing all of them with a large format camera, which I felt would be the only way to do justice to their beauty. 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 in a variety of ways ranging from hiking in trail-less terrain with a 70-lbs backpack - needed to survive in the wilderness while operating a 5x7 camera -, to paddling kayaks and canoes.
Although I am still creating new images for what will most likely be a lifetime pursuit, by the summer of 2002, I reached the milestone of photographing in large format each of the 58 National Parks at least once 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.
Vintage Vehicles Waterfall's Rainbow Stalagmites and Stalactites A Bubbling Brook
City Beneath the Sea The Lookout Snowy Evergreens Evergreens in Snow
Mountainside Winter Sunrise Lake French Aqueducts Winter River
Dangling Icicles Sail at Sunset Narrow Bridge Readied Canon
Placid Mountains Patient Bear Daytime Moon Success Blue Sky, Blue Water
Rocky Waterfall Mirrored Lake and Mountain Reflecting Lake Waterfall Divided
A Faraway Land The Turn Ahead Trees Banding Together Streaming Light
Arch Rock Formation Red Rowboat Paragliding at Dusk Aircraft Looking Outward
Fishing Fleet Captain's Stage Captain's Wheel Ship's Engine Room
Full Mast Sailing Full Mast Mt. Rushmore Farmland Fence
Winding River Rocky Forest Stream Snowy Shadows Snow Covered Trees
Tree Line in Winter Winter's Edge Golden Mountain Peak Stone Bridge
Winter's Tree Snow Dusted Forest Valley of Mist Ice Valley
Desert View Canyon View Hilly Lookout Lava Flow
Sunrise in the Desert Round Peg, Square Hole River Though Rocks and Trees The Small Tree
Hills at Sunset Waterfall Daybreak Ocean Sunset Narrow Waterfall
Dawn at Shore Side Rolling Foothills Purple Sunset Reflection Crashing Waving
Icorus' Flight Life on Water Capital Building at Night Courthouse Justice
Autumn Watermill Sunset Liberty Clay Waterfall O Faithful
Mountain Stream Rippling Reflection Tree of Knowledge Flowing Like Fabric
Valley of Trees Wetlands The Tree of Autumn Thankful and Hungry Bear
Twighlight City Harbor Serine Mountain Range Mountainside Fall Desert Mountain Range
Golden Desert Mountain Watery Valley Cold Rolling Mountains Starry Starry Night
Framed Desert Boulder Held High Looking Across NYC Village Church
Red church in the forest Carvings outside of Notre Dame Cathedral Front of the Saint-Etienne Cathedral and a Rainbow Rosace in the Notre Dame Cathedral
Candles and Christ Interior of Sankt Lozenz Kirche Church of the Holy Sepulchre Mar Saba Monastery
Facade of the Duomo Inside of the Siena Cathedral Fontana della Barcaccia at the foot of the Spanish Step Bridge and Basilica Saint Peter
Inside Basilica San Pietro Interior of Basilica San Pietro Interior of Basilica San Peter St Peter's tomb
Dome of Basilica Saint Peter St Peter and Basilica Saint Peter Inside the great Uppsala cathedral Chapel of St John the Evangelist
Quire of Canterbury Cathedral Altar and Nave of Canterbury Cathedral Canterbury Cathedral San Xavier del Bac Mission
Cross and Mission Santa Barbara Crystal Cathedral Facade Crystal Cathedral Church of the Nativity
Labyrinth inside Grace Cathedral Bible and crucifix Ghiberti doors called Gates of Paradize Roof and bell tower
Cannons and Chapel Russian Chapel First Baptist Church Church in Waits River village
Church of East Corinth Church and Barn Village with Brilliant Autumn Foliage Yosemite Chapel
Stone Smiling Faces Stone Smiling Face Framed Buddhist Monk Buddha Statue
Young Buddhist Monks Two Buddhist Monks Buddhist Monks on Stairs Bayon Buddhist Monks
Buddhist Monks on Bank Da Fo (Grand Buddha) Statue of Avalokiteshvara Jinxing Is Temple
Largest Buddha Statue Bardan Monastery The Thousand-Armed Kannon Ryoan-ji Temple Zen Garden
Zen Garden A Zen Garden Thousand-Armed Kannon Kinkaku-ji Temple Garden
Classic Zen Garden Raked Gravel Cremation Ganges River
Brahmans Preparing Religious Arti Ceremony Arti Ceremony Sacred cows
Arti Ceremony Worshipers Ganges River at Sunrise Ganges River Worship Hindu Pilgrim
Ganges Riverbank Ganga Mahal Ghat Ganga Mahal Ghat Towers Bonsale Ghat
Man by Umbrella Manikarnika Ghat Dasaswamedh Ghat Boats Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock Entrance Desert Journey Mormon Temple Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Great Mormon Temple with Christmas Lights Temple Square with Christmas Lights Christmas and Great Mormon Temple