French-Vietnamese photographer Dr. Quang-Tuan Luong has spent a decade photographing all 58 of America's national parks. Like an Asian American Ansel Adams, his work captures the nation's grand panoramas in vivid detail.
For the month of November, the California State Building in San Francisco will be hosting Dr. Quang-Tuan Luong's exhibition, "Treasured Lands: Photographs of America's National Parks." The exhibition is organized by Board of Equalization Chairwoman Fiona Ma, and is free for the public.
Self-taught and self-funded, Dr. QT Luong left his career as a software engineer to travel across country - hiking, climbing, and scuba-diving his way through all 58 national parks. Along the way, he created one of the most comprehensive photo exhibitions of America's natural treasures in existence.
Dr. QT Luong was born in Paris, France to Vietnamese parents, and immigrated to the United States to conduct research in Artificial Intelligence at UC Berkeley. He said, "When choosing universities, I looked at which one was closest to Yosemite. It was UC Berkeley - and I went with that."
His immigrant perspective shines through his art and gives it a brilliant sense of wonder. "After arriving in America, I was immediately drawn to the extraordinary natural diversity offered by the U.S. National Parks," says Dr. Luong. "The viewers must recognize that those unique areas are truly treasures to be preserved and protected for future generations." In the era of Trump, where our national parks seem threatened at every turn, Dr. Luong's work serves as a sharp counterpoint.
The Treasured Lands exhibit is the first and only exhibit to photograph every U.S. national park with a 5x7 large format camera. The camera is unique in both how difficult it is to carry - Luong often carried over 75lbs during his long hikes - and how descriptive it can be. Each Luong's photos captures intimate detail, and juxtaposes that detail against a grand scale.
Dr. Luong's work has been covered by the Boston Globe, New York Times, and has even appeared in a Ken Burns documentary. The free photography exhibit will be starting November 1 through November 30, 2017 (9AM- 5PM) at the Hiram W. Johnson State Building Great Hall, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco.You can find samples of his photographs in the image gallery above.
Abacus is a regular column about the Asian Pacific Islander community in San Francisco.
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