Chen Ronghui


Professional Experience

2017- Now Visual Director, Sixth Tone, English-language digital publication.
2015 - 2017 Chief Photojournalist, The Paper, new media outlet.
2011 - 2015 Photojournalist, Hangzhou Metropolitan Express

Awards, Fellowship & Nominations

2017 Winner, 6th Hou Dengke Documentary Photography Award.
2017 Guyu Project Fellowship, Tencent Nonfiction Storytelling Initiative.
2017 “Nine Chinese Photographers You Need to Follow”, Time Light Box.
2016 Best Photography of the Year, China Photography Museum.
2015 2nd Prize, Category of Contemporary Issue, 58th World Press Photo Contest.

2014 Best Photography Journalist of 2013, China Photographers Association.

Exhibitions & Lectures

2017 China through Chinese eyes, Photoville, New York, USA.
2017 Les Rencontres d’Arles, Arles, France.
2017 2nd Changjiang International Photography and Video Biennale, Chongqing.
2017 Contemporary Photography in Zhejiang at SIPA Gallery, Beijing.
2016 Go East Project, UNDEF/NE, Shanghai.







Freezing Land series

My project Freezing Land is a series of photos made on the road across northeastern China's countryside that mixes landscape photography with environmental portraits. It is a story about broken dreams: the shrinking cities in northeastern China and their lonely young people.


The northeast was once the wealthiest area in China, benefiting from its borders with North Korea and, especially, the U.S.S.R. With the help of the Soviet Union, it developed heavy industry and prospered for many years. But now, it has become the most recessionary region in China as people migrate away from its cities and land.

It is difficult to encounter subjects on the street when it's minus 30 degrees centigrade outside. Therefore, I knocked on doors looking for young people willing to share their stories. The young people I chose were experiencing a sense of uncertainty. They were facing a choice whether to leave for challenges in bigger cities or stay behind and embrace whatever fate was left for them.

I photographed environmental portraits for these young people. Their stories are colorful but also full of loneliness. I photographed the derelict landscape - places once full of life that are now forgotten. During this process, the emotion expressed by these young people - hesitation mixed with loneliness and hope - resonated with me.

This made me realize that I'm not just photographing the lost dreams on this freezing northeastern land, but also the uncertainty that we young people, as individuals, face under today's collectivism in China. At this moment, I pressed the shutter.