Magnum Photos Photographer Profile
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Sim Chi Yin
Singaporean, b. 1978 (Nominee)
The magic in the intersection of time, light, life — and fate — still fascinates me, but I’m asking myself: whose truth is it, whose reality, whose fragile memories? ”
Sim Chi Yin is the granddaughter of a photographer and journalist killed during China’s civil war. This history, taboo in her family for decades during the Cold War, eventually drew her back to China from her native Singapore. For the past decade she has been based in this, the world’s most dynamic country, forging intimate bonds with people and chronicling change from the ground up.

Her work often combines rigorous research and intimate storytelling. She was commissioned as the Nobel Peace Prize photographer in 2017 and created a solo show for the Nobel Peace Centre museum in Oslo on nuclear weapons, combining a video installation and still photography. Her photo and film work has been shown in the United States, Europe and Asia, including at the Istanbul Biennale in 2017, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, PhotoVille in New York, the Annenberg Space For Photography in Los Angeles, Southeastern Center For Contemporary Art in North Carolina, Tom Blau gallery in London, Objectifs in Singapore and the Arko Art Center and Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art in South Korea. Her work has also been screened at Les rencontres d’Arles and Visa pour l’Image festivals in France, and the Singapore International Film Festival. She does commissioned work for global publications, such as The New York Times Magazine, TIME, National Geographic, The New Yorker and Harpers.

Chi Yin won the Chris Hondros Award in 2018. She was an inaugural Magnum Foundation Social Justice and Photography fellow in 2010 and a finalist for the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography in 2013. In 2014, she was Her World Magazine’s “Young Woman Achiever of the Year”.

She was a member of VII Photo Agency from 2014 to 2017, and on its mentorship programme from 2011 to 2014.

Chi Yin read history at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She was a newspaper staff writer and foreign correspondent for nine years before quitting to be an independent practitioner. She is particularly interested in history, memory, conflict and migration and its consequences, working with photography, film, sound, text and archival material, in a multidisciplinary practice.

Chi Yin became a Magnum nominee member in 2018.