July 10, 2014


Sim Chi Yin, © Alan Lim

VII is excited to announce that Sim Chi Yin, formerly of the VII Mentor Program, has been selected to join the agency as a member photographer. Her membership goes into effect this month.

“It’s a great honor to be offered a spot in a collective with some of the leading documentary photographers in the field today," said Chi Yin in response to the news. "I value the opportunity to work with VII, as they adapt and innovate in an agency world and industry that's currently in a turbulent state. I want to use this opportunity to learn how a cooperative works and instead of wondering and watching from afar, get involved in trying to find ways to move forward."

Marcus Bleasdale, who served as Chi Yin's mentor, says, "VII is thrilled to announce the addition of Sim Chi Yin to its membership. Chi Yin has developed incredibly in the VII mentor program and during her time has authored several powerful bodies of work from Asia. Her journalistic ethic and her role as a socially-concerned photographer is core to the values VII holds dear and we believe she will be a powerful and important voice in our community for years to come."

A fourth-generation overseas Chinese, Chi Yin, who is now based in Beijing, has gained considerable recognition for tackling challenging socio-economic stories on migrant labour, occupational health, income inequality and urbanization — issues that are taking place in China but have consequences that play out on a global scale.

In addition to pursuing personal projects on social issues in the region, Chi Yin shoots regularly for the New York Times and has completed assignments for The New Yorker, TIME, New York Times Magazine, Le Monde, GQ, ESPN Magazine, Financial Times Magazine and Stern, among others.

"I've been thrown into the assignment world rather quickly," says Chi Yin, who became a freelance photographer in 2011. "And now, I would very much like to do more thoughtful, meaningful group projects on global issues, and work on more social/community engagement with photography-based work. VII is already well-known and respected for its ethos: socially-concerned photography, so that befits my personal direction."

A view of the Yangon River, March 23, 2012. From the series 'Burmese Spring.'
© Sim Chi Yin / VII

Ed Kashi, a member and owner of VII since 2010, said: "Sim Chi Yin is an extraordinary photojournalist, a storyteller of the first order and one of the hardest working people I know. We are thrilled to have her join VII Photo and move with us into the new directions our agency is exploring to reach new audiences, produce meaningful projects and continue our tradition of in-depth, meaningful visual storytelling."

Chi Yin added, "I look forward  to collaborating on group projects, and helping bring them to life. I plan to help build more of a profile for VII in Asia and China in particular. I want to introduce partnerships and ideas from this part of the world to a still Western-centered photography industry. I believe we can use visual storytelling and photography, both universal languages, to enhance our bonds and build greater understanding."

In what is Guangzhou's new Central Business District, a former fishing village is stuck in a half-demolished state as villagers challenge the government for fair compensation for their land. From the series 'Sub / urban.' ©  Sim Chi Yin / VII

Sim Chi Yin, who studied history and international relations at the London School of Economics, began her career as an award-winning journalist and foreign correspondent for The Straits Times, Singapore's national English daily, where she worked for nine years before turning to photography.

In 2010, she was awarded a Magnum Foundation fellowship for a summer programme in “Photography and Human Rights” at New York University. Chi Yin was a finalist for the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography in 2013, with a personal project on terminally-ill Chinese gold miners.

Chi Yin was on the British Journal of Photography’s “Ones to Watch” list of photographers in 2014. She was also named one of the 30 top emerging photographers by Photo District News in 2013.

For press inquiries regarding this announcement please contact Ed Kashi.

Follow Sim Chi Yin online at



VII Photo Agency is the world's preeminent agency representing contemporary photojournalists. Created in 2001 by seven leading photojournalists, VII today represents 19 award-winning visual storytellers. VII exists to support its photographers in producing visual content of journalistic integrity that informs the world about significant social, political and cultural issues, and encourages positive change in societies.

Recognized by American Photo as one of the top three "100 Most Important People in Photography", the agency has worked with top tier publications since its inception, partnered with organizations including UNFPA and Doctors Without Borders to create compelling stories that ensure lasting impact through reporting, photography and film, and has exhibited in leading museums, including the Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art (New York) and the Louvre (Paris).

Current members are: Jocelyn Bain Hogg, Marcus Bleasdale, Stefano De Luigi, Jessica Dimmock, Ashley Gilbertson, Ron Haviv, Ed Kashi, Gary Knight, Antonin Kratochvil, Joachim Ladefoged, Davide Monteleone, Christopher Morris, Maciek Nabrdalik, Franco Pagetti, Sim Chi Yin, Stephanie Sinclair, John Stanmeyer, Anastasia Taylor-Lind, Tomas van Houtryve, and Donald Weber.


The VII Mentor Program, an initiative conceived in 2008 by VII members, seeks to provide professional development for emerging photographers whom the members consider to be amongst the brightest new talents in the industry. After being nominated by a VII member, each selected photographer will work with a senior member of VII for two years to build and polish necessary skills and to expand his or her own professional practice.

Current photographers in the mentor program are Ali Arkady (Iraq), Poulomi Basu (India), Arthur Bondar (Ukraine), Maike Elan (Vietnam), and Cristobal Olivares (Chile).

Past participants include:

• Agnes Dherbeys – France
• Benedicte Kurzen – France
• Maciek Nabrdalik – Poland
• Anastasia Taylor-Lind – United Kingdom
• Giulio Di Sturco – Italy
• Don McNeill Healy – Ireland
• Adam Ferguson – Australia
• Tanyth Berkeley – United States
• Ilana Panich-Linsman – United States
• Peter DiCampo – United States
• Erin Trieb – United States
• Mikolaj Nowacki – Poland
• Giovanni Cocco – Italy
• Amanda Rivkin – United States
• Jost Franko – Slovenia
• Gazi Nafis Ahmed – Bangladesh
• Laura El-Tantawy – Egypt

To see the work of current VII Mentor Program photographers, as well as projects by Sim Chi Yin during her time in the program, please visit

© VII Photo 2014 Follow VII »


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