About Dan Fong

Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower at Stapleton Airfield

Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower with Colorado's House Representative Peter Dominick to his right at the former Stapleton Airport, 1962.

Dan Fong began his photography career in 1962, at the age of 14. On assignment for his school newspaper, Dan attended a press conference at Stapleton Airport for Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was in town to endorse two Colorado legislators, Peter Dominick and Donald Brotzman, in their runs for U.S. Congress.  There, Fong took a series of remarkable photographs of the former president - easy, candid images that are the earliest indicators of his uncanny ability to take just the right photo at just the right time, without anyone seeming to notice.

In 1966, Fong began attending the University of Colorado in Boulder.  There was no photography degree available at the university at that time, so he chose to pursue a Marketing degree instead, thinking it would at least give him the opportunity to use his camera once in a while.  While at CU, Dan became immersed in the burgeoning Colorado rock and pop music industry, taking every chance he could to see and photograph shows at the university and beyond.

John Denver, KFLM Simulcast 1971

John Denver at KFLM studio, 1971

Dan Fong graduated from CU in 1970.  After finishing school, he opened a photography business in the Cherry Creek neighborhood of Denver and, shortly thereafter, started working with radio station KFML, one of Colorado’s earliest “free-form” experimental radio stations. Fong provided them with marketing photographs, and in return, they agreed to air commercials promoting his business. Once KFML staff found out that Fong’s family had a catering business and that he knew how to cook, the radio station started hiring him to cater for musicians on promotional tours from record labels like Warner Brothers, Capitol Records and RCA. 

Dan Fong and Mick Jagger at Barry Fey's luau party

Dan Fong and Mick Jagger at Barry Fey's luau party, June 16, 1972.

In 1972, Fong landed a catering job for the Rolling Stones through Barry Fey, who was a prominent rock promoter in the Denver area and ran the Feyline music production company. After the Stones, Fong continued to work parties for Fey and eventually was hired as tour chef for the Doobie Brothers - a job that later turned into media coordinator, photographer, and cinematographer for the band.  To date, Dan Fong’s photographs grace the cover of ten albums of music, including the Doobie Brothers’ What Was Once Vices Are Now Habits (1974) and Takin’ It To The Streets (1976).

Dan Fong

Dan Fong at the open house to celebrate the donation of his collection to the University of Colorado Libraries, Archives in July 2019. 

Beginning in the 1970s, Fong was invited to study with photographers associated with Group f/64, whose original members included Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, among others. During this period, he explored landscape photography and worked closely with Al Weber (1930-2016), a photographer at the Victor School (1977-2007) in Victor, Colorado. Fong went on camping trips in remote areas to take pictures in the wilderness and would often share photos with Weber and other photographers working similarly in f/64’s modernist Western aesthetic. Dan recalls, after exchanging his rock-n-roll work with Al Weber, he said "we made a mistake you should be doing this” - and so he did.

In addition to his music photography, Dan Fong has also worked as a commercial photographer, produced television shows for NASCAR and outdoor recreation, and created graphic designs for books.  Today, he has also become the ultimate person to go to when you want pictures of musicians in the Colorado area, especially from the late 1960s and 1970s. Dan Fong still operates his business, Dan Fong and the Creativeye, LLC, in Wheatridge, Colorado, where he holds a large archive of Colorado music photography, both past and present.

About Dan Fong