Sim Chi Yin, a Patient Photographer, Wins Chris Hondros Award


Sim Chi Yin has gained the seventh annual Getty Images and Chris Hondros Fund Award, which was established in honor of Mr. Hondros, who was killed in Libya in April 2011 together with the photographer and filmmaker Tim Hetherington.

The $20,000 award comes at a fortuitous time for Ms. Sim, a freelance photographer primarily based in Beijing who works for varied publications, and in addition on long-term initiatives.

“This came completely out of the blue,” she stated. “I’ve been collecting rejection letters from various grants and trying to figure out funding for my long-term projects. It comes when I’m at a crossroads in my work and my life.”

After a critical thumb damage on project resulted in everlasting injury, Ms. Sim has been revaluating how she works, purposely slowing the tempo of her pictures. She has begun specializing in research-based initiatives and “thinking deeper, making fewer frames but being more intentional,” she stated.

Ms. Sim, 39, was named the Nobel Peace Prize photographer final yr and with the fee created a multidisciplinary exhibition on nuclear weapons utilizing photographs, movies, textual content and objects. Another mission is about her grandfather, who’s revered in his hometown as a martyr within the Chinese Revolution, a matter that her household considers taboo.

She stated photographers are in search of new methods to inform visible tales that stand out, since know-how and social media have modified how these tales are made and seen. She famous that Mr. Hondros created a dwell efficiency with classical musicians and projections of his photographs from Iraq, whereas Mr. Hetherington made experimental movies.

“I think if Chris and Tim were alive today, they would also be searching for a new vocabulary in this age of image saturation,” she stated. “They would be at the forefront of this push for new ways of working, new ways of telling the stories that matter.”

Ms. Sim’s initiatives take an infinite quantity of analysis earlier than she even picks up her digicam. But she is affected person.

Raised in Singapore, she turned eager about pictures as a teenager. During an internship with The Singapore Straits Times, the paper gave her a scholarship that allowed her to check historical past on the London School of Economics, the place she obtained a grasp’s diploma. In alternate for the scholarship, she was obligated to work for the newspaper for eight years.

When she returned to Singapore, Ms. Sim wished to be a photographer, however she was instructed that she was “overqualified” and can be a reporter. Eventually, she rose to turn into the paper’s Beijing correspondent, the place she additionally took the photographs for her tales. After fulfilling her eight years, she gave up her advantages, wage and job safety and got down to be a photographer. The Magnum Foundation Human Rights Fellowship she obtained in 2010 helped begin her profession and he or she went on to freelance for The New York Times, amongst others. A mentorship on the VII Photo Agency led to full membership, although she left in 2017. Her long-term mission on a Chinese gold miner dying from silicosis was published on Lens in 2015.

Just as her profession was going “full speed” in 2015, she was attacked whereas on project by a group of North Korean migrant girls staff who wrestled her digicam out of her hand and severely injured her proper thumb, she stated. She was sidelined by the damage, and the publication that had given her the project didn’t cowl her medical care, she stated.

Two years of surgical procedures and bodily remedy had been “a bit of a wake-up call” and gave her time to mirror on the work she wished to do. The benefit of “thinking more and shooting less” has led her to initiatives that aren’t classical photojournalism.

The six photographers who beforehand obtained the Hondros award had been all famous photojournalists overlaying information internationally. While Ms. Sim is profitable in her editorial work, she is extra identified for her long-term initiatives. Though Mr. Hondros was among the many most admired battle photographers of his technology, the award honors photographers who present deep human engagement and rigorous thought of what they cowl, stated Christina Piaia, the fund’s founder, who was engaged to Mr. Hondros.

“This year, we definitely recognize that this work is different,” she stated. “We were particularly struck by her intelligence and the rigor embedded in her work. Her keen sense and knowledge about the geographic locations, cultures and subjects she covers are akin to Hondros’s work and the immense preparation he undertook to learn not only about the current state of affairs, but the historical context of the people, conflicts and regions he covered.”

In addition to the popularity for Ms. Sim, the Bronx Documentary Center obtained a $5,000 award in acknowledgment of its persevering with group engagement and youth education schemes.



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