ABOUT Leo Gong Photographer Food has always been an integral part of my family. Since all my relatives lived in the same neighborhood, family gatherings were a weekly event. Hanging out with my grandparents in the kitchen was always a fun learning experience. The kitchen was a place my dad would always tell us stories, which was his way of educating us. At such a young age, I never understood the value in the stories being shared, never understood that we were learning valuable life lessons. Most of the time we didn't care and nor did we want to listen, we just wanted to go play! Learning photography in elementary school was exactly that, playing! It was exciting going on field trips and taking pictures of San Francisco with our Kodak Instamatics. The fun summer program introduced me to photography, an art I would later pursue in college. After graduating from the Academy of Art College in 1991 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Commercial Photography, photo assisting was the next step before opening up my own studio. As a photo assistant, I had the opportunity to travel in Europe which opened up my world to different foods and cultures of the world. Meeting people from different cultures was a fascinating experience. Listening to stories and learning about their culture was priceless. I started shooting food when I first opened my photo studio in 1998. Using photography to tell stories about food became a passion for me. Each subject is unique and embedded with a richness in history and culture, which makes it a fascinating subject. Whether I'm photographing an ingredient or recipe, a place or a person, I’m always learning something new and meeting interesting people. Visually telling their story is challenging and rewarding at the same time. Who knew that a little Kodak Instamatic camera and stories at the kitchen table would lead to a life long journey of photography. A powerful and artistic way of communicating, where I am always learning and using photography to express stories about other people's lives and their journey.