Artist List > Quang-Tuan Luong

Quang-Tuan Luong

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.

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