Christine Chung is a Korean Filipino freelance photographer based in the Philippines. She is interested in exploring internal life through imagery. Her ongoing work focuses on making sense of her own identity, sense of country, and relationship to the two cultures she was born into.
In 2012 and 2014, she was awarded a scholarship grant and was mentored by Kevin WY Lee in the Invisible Photographer Asia Online Mentorship Program. Here she produced ‘A Portrait of Us.’ In 2015, was mentored by documentary photographer Alex Baluyut in the Masterclass in Documentary Photography Edition 10. In the same year, she attended the Angkor Photo Festival Workshop where she was mentored by Magnum member-photographer Sohrab Hura.
She previously worked for a local podcast network, PumaPodcast, but left her full-time job to pursue a career in documentary photography. She also volunteers for Thousandfold, an artist-run organization that promotes photobooks and self-publishing in the Philippines. She graduated in 2016 with a degree in Humanities from Ateneo de Manila University.
Christine’s photography life is nurtured by her curiosity about people and their internal lives. The act of photographing also allows her to be present with the people being photographed. Largely self-taught in photography, she went from documenting events at her high school to deepening her craft through workshops at Invisible Photographer Asia and Angkor Photo Festival. These opportunities helped refine her interest to understand internal struggles through imagery.
Her first photo series “A Portrait of Us” was a means of expressing her anxieties about growing up and her diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. The resulting images were of friends and family around her who were a part of the “Us.” In hindsight, there are three faces to “Us”: Our real self, The self that we show to others, and the self as seen by others. The work sparked a curiosity to explore the internal lives of other people.
“Trans Project,” an ongoing collaboration with Nic, a friend and collaborator, is a visual story about Nic’s transition as a trans man in the Philippines. The work is placed within the context of a country that tolerates trans people but does not allow them to fully integrate in society.
As an artist, I am drawn to the not-so-visible struggles of other people not accepting you but also accepting one’s own self. Another ongoing work, “Gyopo,” deals with finding her “Koreanness” as a Korean-Filipino daughter born in the Philippines. Grief over her grandmother’s passing changed her family but it also sparked questions of why they ended up in this country, wondering also of how her father as a young man moved here. What dreams did he have and what hopes were lost in moving here?
To view more of Christine Chung’s work please visit their website.