Sim Chi Yin is one of 19 photographers in the world represented by New York-based VII Photo Agency and a member of the World Press Photo jury for 2016. Chi Yin, who focuses on socially-engaged long-form documentary work in Asia, has been based in China for the past eight years.
She has spoken and taught at festivals and schools in the US, Europe and Asia. Her work has been exhibited and collected by foundations and galleries in New York, Paris and China. She does photography, video and multimedia commissions for TIME, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Le Monde and The New Yorker, among other top international publications, as well as commercial clients. Chi Yin was a Magnum Foundation Human Rights and Photography fellow at New York University in 2010 and a finalist for the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography in 2013. She was listed as one of 30 emerging photographers globally to watch by leading industry magazines Photo District News and the British Journal of Photography. Chi Yin was also Her World Magazine’s Young Woman Achiever of the Year in 2014.
She was a journalist for Singapore Press Holdings for a decade, including four years as a Beijing-based foreign correspondent for The Straits Times, before quitting to be a freelance documentary photographer in 2011. She is currently The New York Times-accredited photographer in China. Her first short documentary premiered at the Singapore International Film Festival in November (2015).
Some interesting information about Chi Yin
- Since you're Singaporean, perhaps you could tell us how long you've been based overseas?
I’ve been based in Beijing for the past eight years.
- What are you looking forward to during your trip to Singapore?
Getting together with two interesting and prominent members of my generation of documentary photographers in the world, experimenting with form and engagement. Getting some chai dao kueh with Protick and Pete!
- Tell us 3 interesting things about yourself / your work.
Hmmm, I think that’s for others to surmise from looking at the work, but
1. broadly speaking I’d say a sense of social purpose underlies all of my work.
2. People who meet me for the first time often say “you’re smaller than I thought” and I’m getting shorter — shrinking!
3. I was once nicknamed “chili padi”.
Chi Yin's website: http://www.chiyinsim.com/
Topic: Ground Up: Telling stories from the grassroots by Sim Chi Yin
Date: Saturday, Jan 30
Venue: National Museum of Singapore, Seminar Room
Join Sim Chi Yin, a documentary author based in China, for a morning of photos and discussion of her work documenting society from the grassroots. From petitioners sleeping rough and migrants living in Beijing’s basements, to gold miners waiting for death in the remote mountains, Chi Yin has found ways to access communities on the fringe and then worked in an intimate, close-up way to tell their stories.
A fourth-generation overseas Chinese who was born and grew up in Singapore, Chi Yin returned eight years ago to the land her great-grandfather had left at the turn of the century. She is also working on several projects involving people at the margins of Chinese society and last year cut her first documentary film.
She will speak about finding stories in one’s backyard, creating long-form narratives, and working across different forms: photography, text, film and audio.
Chi Yin will also talk about the book project she is working on: how her paternal grandfather – a journalist and community leader – was deported from British Malaya to China, joined the Chinese Communist Party guerrilla army and was executed just before the Communist victory in 1949.
Who should attend: Anyone interested in photography, documentary story-telling, and China and contemporary global issues.