Mark Leong is a fifth-generation American-Chinese from Sunnyvale, California. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1988, he was awarded a George Peabody Gardner Traveling Fellowship to spend a year taking pictures in his ancestral homeland. In 1992, he again visited China as an artist-in-residence at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, sponsored by a fellowship from the Wallace Foundation. In 2003, Leong joined the photo agency, Redux Pictures. His book China Obscura was published in 2004.

Leong is a contributing photographer for National Geographic.  HIs photos have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, New Yorker, Smithsonian, Stern, Fortune and Time. His work has been recognized with awards from National Endowment for the Arts (1992), Fifty Crows International Fund for Documentary Photography (2002), the Overseas Press Club (2007) and the Open Society Foundation (2005, 2014) among others. In 2010, he was named the Veolia Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year for his regional coverage of the Asian wildlife trade. Exhibitions of his work include solo shows at the Carpenter Visual Arts Center at Harvard University (1991), the San Francisco Arts Commission at City Hall (2007), and the Leica Gallery in Frankfurt (2008).

Corporate clients include Siemens, Infiniti, Johnson & Johnson, Goldman-Sachs, and the World Health Organization.

After many years based in Beijing, he currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, but returns frequently to China.