Magnum Foundation

Magnum Foundation

Announcing the the Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography


By Peng Ke, from her project “Underneath the Tree Where I Buried My Childhood Pets.”

In 2014, ChinaFile and the Magnum Foundation partnered to found the Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography, a fellowship supported by Betsy Z. and Edward E. Cohen and named in memory of their daughter.

Over the years, we’ve supported six photographers to produce independent work in China. Through a nomination process, two more photographers have been awarded the fellowship this year. They are Peng Ke and Cheng Xinhao, both from China.

This year’s jury was comprised of Kristen Lubben, Executive Director of Magnum Foundation; Emma Raynes, Director of Programs at Magnum Foundation; Susan Jakes, Editor of ChinaFile; Muyi Xiao, Director of Visuals for ChinaFile; and David Barreda, Deputy Editor of Photo and Visuals at Topic.

“We were excited to see the range of topics and photographic approaches for this year’s Abigail Cohen Fellowship. More than in past years, we are seeing documentary photographers experiment with form and content in creative ways,” says Emma Raynes.

By Peng Ke, from her project “Underneath the Tree Where I Buried My Childhood Pets.”

Born in Changsha, Hunan province, Peng Ke moved with her parents to Shenzhen as a young child. She is interested in how urbanization and migration affect the human psyche, particularly in young children. Through her photography, Peng seeks to understand how migrant children growing up in unfamiliar cities approach their surroundings, and how they come to know unfamiliar and chaotic worlds through play. 

The Mang resting under the azalea. By Cheng Xinhao, from his project “Beyond the Forest: The Mang Borderland.”

Cheng Xinhao, a native of Yunnan province, earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from Peking University and now works as an independent artist. He is in the midst of a second phase of an intensive 15-year study on the Mang, a tiny ethnic group who live along the China-Vietnam border. While the majority of Mang people live in Vietnam, some 800 live in China’s Yunnan province. Incorporating  archeology, anthropology, and linguistics, Cheng’s photographic project will explore how the border between the two countries affects Mang identity.

See more here.