At a time when China stories were fuelled with dizzying narratives about its rapid economic growth, documentary photographer Sim Chi Yin took the road less travelled.
The 37-year-old's work took her across the Chinese countryside - where she photographed gold miners fighting silicosis, a disease caused by inhaling silica dust produced by the blasting of rocks in mines - and to the basements of Beijing's buildings, where close to a million migrant workers live in illegal underground dwellings.
"I wanted to explore a different side of the story, chronicling the experiences of people on the margins," said Ms Sim, a former China correspondent for The Straits Times who is now a photographer with the prestigious New York-based photo agency VII.
She will share her experiences of documenting Chinese society on Jan 30 as part of a series of talks and panel discussions at the World Press Photo exhibition, which kicks off on Jan 29 and runs till Feb 21.
The exhibition will feature 145 winning photos from the 2015 World Press Photo contest. The awards, which started in 1955, are regarded as the highest accolade in photojournalism. Among the contest winners are Bangladeshi documentary photographer Sarker Protick and American photographer and researcher Pete Muller, whom Ms Sim hails as "among the most innovative and thoughtful photographers" of her generation. They will discuss the ethics of photography in a digital age at a panel discussion on Jan 29.
Mr Protick, 30, will also hold a talk on how to approach self-funded, long-term visual storytelling projects. His project, What Remains, an intimate series of portraits featuring his ageing grandparents, won second prize in the daily life category at the World Press Photo contest.
JAN 29 - FEB 21
National Museum of Singapore, The Concourse (Level 1) and The Canyon (Basement 1)
Open daily, 10am - 7pm
PANEL DISCUSSION AND TALKS
Admission is free, but pre-registration is required.
FRIDAY, JAN 29, 7PM
TOPIC: Photojournalism: new era, new forms, new ethics?
PANELLISTS: Sim Chi Yin, Sarker Protick, Pete Muller.
Moderated by Desmond Lim
SATURDAY, JAN 30, 10AM
TOPIC: Ground Up: Telling stories from the grassroots by Sim Chi Yin
SATURDAY, JAN 30, 12PM
TOPIC: Men, Masculinity and Violence by Pete Muller
SATURDAY, JAN 30, 2PM
TOPIC: Approach & Engagement by Sarker Protick
SATURDAY, FEB 6, 11AM
TOPIC: Shooting Singapore by Desmond Lim
TOPIC: Sea, Air, and Land by Alphonsus Chern
SUNDAY, FEB 14, 11AM
TOPIC: Behind the scenes of disaster reportage by Kevin Lim
TOPIC: Evolution of newspaper photographers by Neo Xiaobin
Register at www.straitstimes.com/tags/st-world-press-photo
There were challenges in the process of carrying out the work, including the death of his grandmother a year after the project started.
"After her departure, my grandpa had a different state of being completely alone," he said. "Sometimes that emotional process gets difficult... Doing the work was something that helped us to be closer."
Mr Muller, who has explored gender-based violence in Congo in his work, will examine the relationship between traditional notions of masculinity and violence in his talk.
Sponsors for the speakers are political foundation Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, Newsplex Asia, Nanyang Technological University and the Singapore Press Club. Other local sponsors include The South Beach hotel, logistics company Famous Air & Sea Services and caterer Purple Sage.
The exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore, the official venue supporter, is being presented by The Straits Times (ST) for the second year running. There will also be an ST exhibition in conjunction with the World Press Photo show, featuring at least 12 of last year's best photojournalistic work.
ST photojournalists Desmond Lim, Alphonsus Chern, Kevin Lim and Neo Xiaobin will share their experiences in talks on Feb 6 and Feb 14, touching on topics such as the process of documenting local communities, the challenges of photographing Singapore's military elite, disaster reporting and the evolution of newspaper photography with the emergence of online platforms.