About Jonathan Tongyai
I was born in Bucks County PA and moved to Sanibel Florida when I was eight years old. Back then all photography was film. My step-father was the crime scene photographer for the Lee County Sheriff's Department. I was constantly bugging him let me use his 35mm SLR to the point that on my 10th birthday he gave me a used Konica and a Huge pack of BW film. He said let me see what you can do. He had already taught me the how to achieve focus and exposure but the composition was mine to be discovered.
My primary subject at that time was the Sanibel wildlife and my German Shepard Gretchen. One day my step dad came home and said let me show you something. We sat down and went though the first images that I created and he had developed. I will never forget my first photograph of my dog yawning. Guess she was already bored! I see that image so clearly as if it was yesterday. He told me that he had never seen anyone do so well on his first attempt. Just pumping me up! After that I proceeded to shoot about six rolls a day or more. Later he taught me to process my own B&W film and it pretty much took off from there.
I studied construction management at the University of Florida. I enjoyed the idea of taking raw materials and producing something 3 dimensional and useful. During my career as a construction manager I was constantly in the field photographing not only the buildings but the people that worked on the job sites. I found that I enjoyed that part of my day more than any other.
Over the years I was transferred all over the US and in each location I put my love of photography work everyday. I also photographed part-time to help make ends meet. I photographed the professionals involved in the construction process and well as a few of their weddings and families. I also advertised in local news papers for headshots, family and wedding photography.
When I finally moved back to Sanibel I was prepared to go full time into photography but then Hurricane Charley hit our islands putting the tourist industry into a tailspin. Lucky for me the construction industry was strong. Over the next years I photographed wildlife and landscapes and then again families and weddings as the economy came back. About three years ago I decided to pursue my true love full-time. Today I have a studio in Fort Myers Florida called Captivating Studios LLC where I spend most of my time doing Headshots and beauty/fashion and Island Photography LLC which is primarily on location family photography.
I have deeply immersed myself in my photography. I am studying the work of many of the top photographers of their time as well as the current masters such as Peter Hurley, Joel Grimes, Sue Bryce and Jerry Ghionis. I am always working to be better than the last shoot and to pull ideas and knowledge from what I have learned to develop my own style.
It is true when the say if you love what you do for a living you will never work another day the rest of your life!