Mark Leong is a fifth-generation Chinese-American from Sunnyvale, California. After graduating from Harvard University in 1988, he received a George Peabody Gardner Traveling Fellowship to visit China for the first time, where he spent a year traveling around the country taking pictures. He returned to China in 1992 as an artist-in-residence at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, sponsored by a fellowship from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, and in 1997 made his long-term home in Beijing, where he has lived since.
In 2003, Leong joined the Redux Pictures photo agency. A book of his black and white work, China Obscura, was published in 2004. He is a contributing photographer for National Geographic and his photographs have appeared in TIME, Fortune, The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, The New Yorker, GQ, and Stern. His work has been recognized with awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Fifty Crows, and the Overseas Press Club. In 2010, he was named the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year for his regional coverage of the Asian wildlife trade.