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King Au (Chinese-American, b. 1960)

Published onDec 12, 2022
King Au (Chinese-American, b. 1960)

King Au (Chinese-American, b. 1960)

Born and raised in Hong Kong. King attended Iowa State University with a B.A. in architecture (1982), and a M.Arch (1985). Upon graduation, King worked in the field of architecture while he discovered his interest and love for photography. For the next few years, he was working both in commercial work for editorial, and merchandizing assignments as well as fine art projects.

‘Its an interesting balance between art and commerce’ said King. ‘It keeps my view point fresh for sure.’

Currently, King is working on ‘6MileUp’, an on going aerial photo project for the last 7 years, and splitting time between California and Iowa.


He was born in 1960 to a traditional Chinese family in Hong Kong. Youngest son of 9, with a birth mother, step mother, and a very strict, but creative father. His family made a living by operating a barbershop, and practicing Chinese medicine. Every penny made in the business went to raise 9 kids.

King always had a keen interest in arts, making things with his hands. He was fortunate to get into one of the prestigious high school, Saint Paul's College, and graduated there in 1979 with his high school diploma.

King knew he wanted to go far away, to see the world....So Iowa it was. King explained that he knew very little about the plain states then. He was curious about the vastness, the people, and the culture. After all, he grew up in a crowded city of 7 millions.

On a very rainy night in September, 1979, he arrived in Ames, campus of Iowa State University. He spent the next 6 years there getting his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Architecture.

Working in Des Moines, Iowa, as an architectural intern soon proved that he was not meant to sit around at a drafting table all day. He discovered photography instead and start practicing architectural photography in the Midwest regions till 1995.

King and his wife met at a fateful Halloween Party, and soon after got married and established their family. Samuel and Simon are both their children.

Professionally, King's work took another turn. By mid-1990s as he was then traveling to work for various national magazines around the country. Seeing America was quite something...fancy homes, great interior designs, recalled King.

Fast forward, for the last 20 years, he has been mostly working in the San Francisco Bay Area as a merchandizing photographer for major national brands.

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