More About the Author
Gary Fong (b. December 6, 1960 in Seattle, WA, USA) is a photographer who ended his 20 year long career in 2002 to pursue other interests, including creating a product marketed as the solution to unflattering images lit with direct flash lighting called the "Lightsphere." Since introducing it in late 2004, more than 400,000 Lightspheres have been sold worldwide.
After inventing the Lightsphere, Fong built a veritable cottage industry around variations on his popular dome-shaped Lightsphere light diffuser including variations called, "The Origami" and "The Puffer".
Fong began assisting wedding photographer Rocky Gunn (whose work he had seen highlighted in LIFE magazine one week earlier). Fong called his style of wedding photography "The Storybook", and relied upon a sequential approach using graphic page layout designs. At the time that Fong introduced his "Storybook" style, the majority of wedding photographers offered a very limited selection of posed images, one image per page.
Eventually, Fong would design a custom software program called "Montage" which automated the cumbersome process of designing and ordering complex album design layouts. Montage software was later sold to Art Leather Mfg. Co., at the time the largest manufacturer of wedding albums in the world.
Fong holds a B.S. Pharm degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara. After working in clinics and emergency rooms, Fong made an about face after graduation, discarded his medical training and picked up a camera to shoot weddings.
Starting in a bedroom of his parent's apartment, Fong started shooting weddings for $150/no time limit. While this entry price severely undermined the pricing standards, he was able to sell comprehensive designs at an option that was far more costly than the basic package. He would go on to photograph such luminaries as, Sylvester Stallone, President Ronald Reagan, Hollywood Magnate Sidney Sheldon, Actress Lee Remick, Paul McCartney, Peter Criss (of Kiss), Bruce Lee, Todd Rundgren, Priscilla Presley, Pia Zadora, Michael Landon, Florence Henderson, Shelly Fabares, among many others.
Here Comes the Guide, a highly respected "bible" of wedding planning has said, "Every once in a while someone comes along to revolutionize an art form; for wedding photography, that someone Is Gary Fong."
His photographic images have been used for national ad campaigns for Fuji, Kodak, Canon and Hasselblad.
Fong was selected in the telecast, "Weddings 2000" as one of the top ten wedding photographers in the world. This live simulcast was broadcast to movie theaters around the world, and was a first of its kind.
When starting his career with used cameras in 1983, Fong had a start price of $150.00 per day. By the last shoot of his career, his fee to shoot a wedding was published at a minimum fee of $120,000, though this intended to be a whimsical deterrent to further bookings as he had already retired.
Co Founder of Pictage, Inc.
Fong is also the co-founder of Pictage, Inc.'s Digital Photo Lab. With the advent of digital, Fong knew that online presentation of images would be best matched to an instant print delivery service. So, joining up with Pictage's online presence, Fong brought his own personal print lab into Pictage's headquarters, and installed it in the kitchen. Joining the Board of Directors and Senior Management team, Pictage started with seven employees in a small office, and within years the employee count would top 150, making Pictage the largest dedicated online digital/web solution anywhere in the United States. Apax partners invested $29 million dollars to acquire Pictage in 2006.
After retiring from wedding photography in 2002, Fong co-founded and became director of Pictage, Inc. Fong expanded into extensive real estate holdings with properties in the U.S. and Canada (with a focus in lakefront homes, ski properties a horse ranch in British Columbia, a yacht chartering business in Los Angeles, a shipping and distribution warehouse in Wisconsin Rapids, WI (Consolidated Fulfillment Solutions, Inc), and a plastics manufacturing company in Columbus, Indiana (EcoPlastics, Inc) specializing in environmentally-friendly plastics made from corn and other bio materials.
On January 19, 2009 Publisher's Marketplace announced the acquisition of world publication rights to, "Gary Fong's THE ACCIDENTAL MILLIONAIRE: How to Succeed in Life without Really Trying", described as "a humorous, poignant memoir of the man said to have revolutionized wedding photography", to Glenn Yeffeth at BenBella books, for publication in October 2009