San Francisco, CA
A fifth-generation Chinese American born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, I started taking pictures while majoring in Visual Studies at Harvard University. My first long form project, a documentation of American Chinatowns, was supported by the Ford Foundation and became my highest honors thesis in 1988. This led to photographing in China itself — roaming my ancestors’ southern countryside in 1989 on a Gardner Fellowship and as resident at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing in 1992, sponsored by the Lila Wallace Foundation. Beijing became my base in 1997, from which I photographed across Asia for more than two decades. My book China Obscura was published in 2004, when I also became a contributing photographer for National Geographic. My work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Fortune, Wired, Fast Company, The New Yorker and Smithsonian. Honors include National Endowment for the Arts 1992, Fifty Crows 2002, Overseas Press Club 2007, British Natural History Museum 2010 and Open Society Foundation 2005, 2014. Shows include Carpenter Visual Arts Center 1991, San Francisco Arts Commission 2007, Leica Gallery Frankfurt 2008, China National Museum 2015 and Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture Shenzhen 2017. Since returning home to California in 2017, I have been looking more local issues such as Asian American youth identity and the shelter crisis; in 2020-21 I documented the impact of the pandemic on unhoused people in the Bay Area supported by the National Geographic COVID-19 Emergency Fund.