"A Floating Population" in Fast Co. Design & Epsilon Magazine

Added on by Annie Ling.

It's hard to believe we're already at the halfway mark of my first major solo exhibition "A Floating Population" since it opened at MOCA this past December. We've received remarkable enthusiasm and support both in the community and beyond for the show, which features around eighty images spanning four years of work in Chinatown. Through public programming, panel discussions and walking tours around the exhibition at the museum, we're able to engage audiences with this body of work in a richer and more dynamic way than ever before. What's especially exciting to me is that all new current exhibits at the museum ("Portraits of New York Chinatown" by Tomie Arai, and "The Lee Family Since 1888" show) are taking a closer look at contemporary Chinatown, making this a distinctly historical season for the museum and the neighborhood.

The show is up till April 13th, so I wholly encourage a visit to MOCA in Chinatown soon! In the meantime, thank you Fast Company Design, Epsilon Magazine (below) and countless visitors for highlighting the show thus far.

Awhereness at CRS for Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Added on by Annie Ling.

This Saturday, January 11th is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

The Center for Remembering & Sharing (a community center located in the East Village in NYC that presents healing, arts and cultural programs) in partnership with Think Act Change NYC will be hosting a free evening of film screenings and a panel discussion on what trafficking looks like today domestically and abroad. In conjunction with the event, a selection of images and stories from my project AWHERENESS on human trafficking in Romania and Moldova will be installed in the lobby for the month.

Please take this opportunity and direct your attention to SocialDocumentary.net which highlights work by photographers around the world shedding light on the tragedy of trafficking.

Free for 24 hours

Added on by Annie Ling.

The folks at The Quarterly (A new UK photo publication which I had the pleasure of working with this year) just announced that the digital edition of Issue 2: Life and Culture  (128 pages of exclusive, fresh content by 20+ artists) will be free for downloading until the new year kicks in!

The Quarterly was mentioned in the December issue of the formidable BJP - The British Journal of Photography's feature on stand out publications with a photographic bent in their annual issue of everything cool & noteworthy.

Inside, you'll find a new set of images I produced this fall titled Anonymous. A departure from my usual way of working, this series of cyanotypes created in collaboration with gun-owners at a gun club in Pennsylvania meditates on guns as loaded symbols of freedom, defense, control, and power.


The first major solo exhibition!

Added on by Annie Ling.

Tonight is the opening of my solo exhibition: A Floating Population at the Museum of Chinese in America. At long last, we are thrilled to present over 80 photographs of this community seen beyond the streets, in the main gallery located in the heart of Chinatown!

Opening Reception: Friday, December 13th, 6pm-8pm
Exhibition Dates: December 13th-April 13th
215 Centre Street, New York, NY
RSVP on Facebook event page

It is truly an honor and privilege to showcase this work within the community after all these years. This comprehensive show of Manhattan Chinatown consist of four series: “Tenements”, “81 Bowery”, “Shut-Ins”, and “The Floating Population”. Media outlets such as The New York Times, The Village Voice, Time Out NY, Sino Vision, China Daily USA, NY Art Beat, among others, have picked up on it and the reviews are coming in strong.

I’m grateful for the support of so many who have contributed so much over the years to make this work possible. Subjects, friends, colleagues, editors, writers, curators and everyone who has passed on a word of encouragement… thank you for putting up with me. Here’s to you! 

The Quarterly UK: The Life and Culture Issue

Added on by Annie Ling.

Last Friday, an epic launch party of issue two of The Quarterly Magazine took place at the Box Studio in London, UK. I'm thrilled to be a contributor in the latest issue themed: Life and Culture and share some new imagery and reflections on gun culture in a series titled Anonymous, alongside incredible works by a diverse group of photographers and writers. 

The Quarterly, Issue 2: Life and Culture   Featuring photography from Maud Chalard, Sharon Kim, Roo Lewis, ANTON, Mark Ivkovic, Annie Ling, Tom Johnson, Tim Hans, Nick Onken, Marc Pritchard, and writing from Naeem Alvi, Jace Kim, Christian Coleman, Stephen Dowling, Errol Clarke, Ivana McConnell, Noo Ridings, Alena Walker, Patrick McCullough. 144 Pages, 250mm x 190mm No adverts. No filler. Creativity without the Exploitation.

The Quarterly, Issue 2: Life and Culture

Featuring photography from Maud Chalard, Sharon Kim, Roo Lewis, ANTON, Mark Ivkovic, Annie Ling, Tom Johnson, Tim Hans, Nick Onken, Marc Pritchard, and writing from Naeem Alvi, Jace Kim, Christian Coleman, Stephen Dowling, Errol Clarke, Ivana McConnell, Noo Ridings, Alena Walker, Patrick McCullough.

144 Pages, 250mm x 190mm
No adverts. No filler.
Creativity without the Exploitation.

The Quarterly is a creative journal championing creative talent and ethical publishing practices. ''Our goal at The Quarterly has always been to do things ethically and fairly. We don't use adverts and we share all profits between our contributors. We think that's something worth shouting about and we want to spread the word as much as possible.'' Each issue of the “ethical social enterprise” publication is given a theme and writers and photographers from around the world are invited to suggest ideas for articles. - Sanj Sahota, Editor and founder of The Quarterly
Issue Two: Life and Culture looks at guns, tattoos, sex, communes, analogue photography, free-spirited adventure, old age, Los Angeles, immigration, street art, barbers and more. 

So what are you waiting for? Order a beautiful print copy now or download the full digital version (coming soon) on your tablet. You'll be treated to a visual feast whilst supporting hungry artists and bold entrepreneurs!

Do not pet me, I am working

Added on by Annie Ling.

The sign is pretty straightforward. The policies with keeping service dogs, however, for tenants claiming disability are not so simple. "A Tussle Over Service Dogs" with an accompanying NYT article digs a little deeper into the issue and gave me the opportunity to meet some exceptional canines and their advocates. Below are some outtakes from the shoot.

Photographing the Immigrant Experience in Chinatown

Added on by Annie Ling.

Please join us this Saturday evening, June 8th at Union Docs in Williamsburg where I will present a slideshow of my photographs and director Lynn Sachs will screen her film Your Day is My Night. Afterwards, photojournalist Alan Chin will host a Q&A. Beer and wine will be served.  

Shifting Lives: Photographing the Immigrant Experience in Chinatown
Director Lynne Sachs & Photographer Annie Ling
UNION DOCS,  322 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, New York
Saturday, June 8 7:30 p.m.  $9 suggested

Stuart Klawans wrote this review in "The Nation" for the MoMA premiere of Sach's film:
Your Day is My Night is a strikingly handsome, meditative work: a mixture of reportage, dreams, memories and playacting which immerses you in an entire world that you might unknowingly pass on the corner of Hester Street, unable to guess what’s behind the fifth-floor windows."   

Should be a great event and crowd. Hope to see you there! 

Conversations w/ Asian American Writers' Workshop

Added on by Annie Ling.

So often, we don't take enough time to discuss our process or share openly what we've learned through all the ups and downs. Few weeks ago, I was "cornered" by some friendly folks from Asian American Writers' Workshop (AAWW).
Ashok Kondabolu of Das Racist visited me on my home turf and we had a good long conversation about photography, justice, Chinatown, roots, and fires. Read the interview on The Margins.

Coincidently, Kyla Cheung from Open City Magazine published a cohesive article online about my work with tenement dwellers and Chinese immigrant workers, bringing to light past histories, the present, and the uncertain future of my friends at 81 Bowery.

81 Bowery has been the subject of coverage by the Village Voice, the New York Times and CNN. The segment aired by CNN this past March on living conditions there led a concerned viewer from Arizona to call the FDNY, which then issued a vacate order citing “fire egress” and “sprinkler issues.” Ten minutes of interviews and footage left the approximately fifty residents of 81 Bowery scrambling to find a bed with friends, relatives, the Red Cross, or the Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Most were Chinese immigrant workers, some undocumented.
— http://opencitymag.com/81-bowery-tenement/

The New York Times have been a great supporter of my personal work in Chinatown, featuring 81 Bowery in 2011 and most recently, in March on the New York Times LENS blog. On March 7th, long-time tenants of 81 Bowery were ordered to vacate the premises due to safety violations.   

It is with greatest disappointment that my friends at 81 Bowery are still in limbo, unable to return to their homes on the Bowery, with no promise of change or improvements made on living conditions in the near future. Meanwhile, I'd run into some of the former 81 Bowery residents hanging around Chinatown, and he/she would offer a warm hello followed by a question: "Do you know when I can go home?" I would shake my head and tell them that I do not have an answer, but that their advocates at CAAAV are working diligently on their behalf.

Sharing another one's story is a privilege that must be handled delicately. As storytellers, we must be vulnerable as well – to express our motivations and engage in conversations to better understand who we are and where we stand, especially if we find ourselves in the position of being a voice for those in need of a voice. 

Chin Tu Yu in cubicle #6 at 81 Bowery packed a few possessions in the final minutes before vacating the building the evening of March 7th. Tu Yu Chin just arrived in US one month ago to join her husband who she hasn't seen in eight years. Chin currently works long hours at a laundromat in Chinatown. ©Annie Ling

Chin Tu Yu in cubicle #6 at 81 Bowery packed a few possessions in the final minutes before vacating the building the evening of March 7th. Tu Yu Chin just arrived in US one month ago to join her husband who she hasn't seen in eight years. Chin currently works long hours at a laundromat in Chinatown. ©Annie Ling

Awhereness Photo Exhibition Opening

Added on by Annie Ling.

I am honored finally to share this work with you. My project partner Patricia Chabvepi (Romanian-born human rights activist) and I warmly invite you to the New York photo exhibition opening of AWHERENESS, a collaborative work with survivors of trafficking in Romania and Moldova, this Thursday, April 25th, 7pm @ All Things Project Space on 269 Bleecker St.



Romania and Moldova are beautiful countries with an ugly problem. Every year, thousands of women, men and children are trafficked outside and within the borders for sex and forced labor. 

We met many survivors of human trafficking who share similar histories. In most cases, children and young adults turn to the streets to escape harsh conditions at overrun orphanages or domestic abuse at home. Survivors are often exploited by those closest to them, such as a family member, partner, or lover. Psychological manipulation, coercion, and physical violence form the basis for a majority of these stories. 

Human trafficking is rooted in various systems of oppression. Hearing these stories, it is impossible to understand and address human trafficking without addressing broader socio-economic realities, gender inequality, domestic violence, corruption, racism, and poverty. 

Trafficking in Romania has swelled since 1989, with the end of communism. Upon joining the European Union in 2007, Romania relaxed its border patrol measures, which exacerbated the problem. The situation is even more critical in Moldova due to the rise of orphanages amidst a declining economy and lack of employment opportunities in the country. 

Awhereness is a collaboration with trafficked survivors to trace their stories and expose the places that enable trafficking. Trafficking is pervasive, making it hard to detect. It takes on many different forms, often in the most mundane places: at home, parks, transportation hubs, and beyond.

Where I'm From / Immigrant Heritage Week

Added on by Annie Ling.

Tomorrow, I will take part in an exciting new project coinciding with Immigrant Heritage Week:

Where I'm From is a project of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism‘s radio program. “This is a natural extension of CUNY’s effort to develop new voices in public media. Part of doing that is developing new audiences and conscientiously serving and including them,” explains Tina Pamintuan, the J-School’s radio program director.

To kick off this pilot radio show focused on diaspora communities, I will be discussing and sharing a selection of my work in New York's Chinatown with esteemed host Jesse Hardman in front of a live audience at historic Webster Hall.

Where I'm From "will present a range of guests, essayists, and performers–including journalist and immigration advocate Jose Antonio Vargas, Kinshasa-born musician Isaac Katalay and his “Lifelong Project” band, and Annie Ling, whose photographic work of Manhattan Chinatown’s tenement housing was recently featured in the New York Times." 

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $5 here.

In the meantime, a teaser filmed this week by Nabil Rahman, in anticipation of the show:

Picnics in the park, with ancestors

Added on by Annie Ling.

Early last Easter Sunday morning, I had the pleasure to witness masses of Chinese families descending upon their ancestors' graves at Kensico Cemetery in Westchester County with writer Sarah Kramer for the New York Times. The resulting essay "Chinese Families Celebrate Qingming Festival in New York" was published today in the Sunday Metropolitan section of the paper. 

Aside from being a beautiful ceremony, it was also a deeply nostalgic experience as it brought me back to my early childhood memories in Taiwan, participating in the Qing Ming Festival and in funerals of my grandfather and lost loved ones.

When I first moved to New York nearly five years ago, I lived by Chatham Square in Chinatown - a key intersection of major arteries and streets in the neighborhood. One such street is lined with traditional Chinese funeral homes, tomb engravers and Buddhist funeral supplies stores. The constant flow of funeral processions juxtaposed with a park teeming with youth across the street dramatizes the ephemeral like a chorus with perpetual rises and falls.

I often visited and eventually befriended a small business owner on this Mulberry Street who would spend his days building mansions and dolls out of paper. Cars, clothing, jewelry, Rolex watches, electronics, games, snacks, even dentures and floss - all made out of cardboard, are sold in colorful array along with joss paper money to families to burn and send up to their departed loved ones.

At Kensico cemetery, one family of five generations came together to feast with their ancestors. A mother and son pair visited their family's grave with humble home-cooked offerings. New memories were made as young and old congregated for hours at the cemetery amidst the aroma of roast pigs while popping firecrackers and ashes filled the air.

The Art of Roommating / This week in NY Mag

Added on by Annie Ling.

This was truly one of my favorite assignments to date. In less than a week, I met over two dozen individuals sharing space in six different neighborhoods throughout NYC. It was a blast working with such a variety of people and situations: a house of aspiring actors, couples sharing space with other couples, an unlikely pair of seniors, a Jewish student housing community/kibbutz, a drag queen coupled with an art director, and so on...

Usually, I'm asked to work digitally but in this case, the wonderful editors at New York Magazine encouraged me to use film (a medium I often favor for personal projects).

Thanks to the genius and hard work of my editors Roxanne Behr and Jody Quon who put this all together, and Jhoanna Robledo for writing this fun and insightful piece.

Here are some of my favorite outtakes including extras from more roommate shoots while on assignment.

See it online here.

A false identity conviction

Added on by Annie Ling.

Today's cover story for the Sunday Metropolitan section in The New York Times features a sorted academic tale that ends in false identity conviction. Read the full article here. It's quite a fascinating read. Also, great reporting by John Leland.

I met the convicted Raphael Golb in his cluttered West Village apartment a week after the state supreme court handed down a decision to sentence Golb to six months in prison. A week later, I photographed Lawrence H. Schiffman, the prime target of Golb’s online activities, in Schiffman's office at Yeshiva University.

Below are published images and selected outtakes from both shoots.

Devastation, Document, Drive: A SANDY Benefit Exhibiton

Added on by Annie Ling.

I'm honored to be part of an upcoming New York Photo Festival initiative and support other artists in need.
A group show benefiting artists affected by Hurricane Sandy will have it's opening reception from 7pm-9pm this Wednesday (Feb 13th) at the PowerHouse Arena in DUMBO at 37 Main St., Brooklyn.

All photos in the exhibition, including several of my selects from Breezy Point will be available for purchase for only $5 per photo (!!!) as suggested donation. Arrive early and invite all your friends to this special event. You wouldn't want to miss out!

"Large devastating storms like Sandy generate non-stop news coverage in the hours, days, and weeks after the initial tragedy. Too often, as the story begins to fade, so does the awareness about those still in need. While those in the areas deeply affected by Sandy are still rebuilding––and will be for quite some time––it is our goal to make sure the devastating visuals from the storm remain at the forefront of the public consciousness.

AdoramaPix has generously printed the exhibition’s over 1000 photographs, which “flood” The POWERHOUSE Arena walls. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, The POWERHOUSE Arena suffered damage caused by 28” of water that entered our space and shattered our doors during the surge. It is our goal to replicate this flood line by displaying a 28” swatch of photographs depicting Sandy and the rebirth after the storm."

Music is my escape

Added on by Annie Ling.

Over the past couple of years I've had the pleasure of spending some quality time with incredibly talented artists and friends for whom music flows in their veins. Images below have appeared in The FADER Magazine, or have graced the covers of albums and EP releases in recent years. Tonight, a select number of these prints will be on display at a friend's house show in Harlem.

Here's a preview from shoots with the formidable hip-hop artist and entrepreneur El-P; the thoughtful man at the piano Ryan Redebaugh; the producer, visual artist, and wizard Slava; and wicked-with-words singer-songwriter Rachel Zylstra.

Destruction of Breezy Point. Two months ago.

Added on by Annie Ling.

In the aftermath of Sandy, I found myself in the submerged gated community of Breezy Point, Queens. Bridges to the Rockaways were reopened Tuesday evening just before dark so rescue aid workers could be shuttled in and out. Silhouettes meandering in a twilight canopy, I was one of few figures cutting through the silence, wading past firetrucks and empty houses cloaked in the hazy red glow of flashing sirens.

The next morning was a different scene as journalists and photographers flooded the area. The light of day exposed the extent of destruction for residents returning to assess varying levels of damage and property loss. An elderly woman sat for an hour on what was formerly her front yard, her chair facing the ashes of the house built over sixty years ago by her husband and son. Her children and grandchildren picked through the charred remains of her home one in a block of one-hundred-and-eleven destroyed by a furious fire after a major evacuation few days leading up to the storm.

I jumped on the back of a truck ferrying locals along the coast of the peninsula. Between two shrubs, I caught a glimpse of a red-haired woman who later introduced herself as Grace. She was poised majestically in a fur coat, planted in a chair on her front porch with a bottle of yellow Gatorade in one hand and a cane in the other. The blank stare in her eyes told me she was in shock. The night before when the hurricane hit, she was alone in her house without power while water rose up to her waist. "I just prayed, and prayed and prayed all night" said Grace, while she slept huddled on a portable hospital bed with her material possessions swimming around her.

Here's a first glimpse of these humbling encounters in Breezy Point, one of many communities still recovering from the aftermath of Sandy.  Below are select images for publication from a photo essay proposal to a magazine's December issue.

Four years ago today...

Added on by Annie Ling.
11/04/08. Harlem, New York, NY. Cheering masses crowd the streets and block traffic to celebrate with Obama supporters driving through Harlem just hours after Barack Obama made history by winning the election to become the first black President of the United States.

11/04/08. Harlem, New York, NY. Cheering masses crowd the streets and block traffic to celebrate with Obama supporters driving through Harlem just hours after Barack Obama made history by winning the election to become the first black President of the United States.