First Place

TikTok In Kham

Xiangyu Long


A seven-second video on Tiktok transforms Ding Zhen, a simple Tibetan yak herder, into an Internet star overnight. The overnight sensation not only changed Ding Zhen’s life, but also had profound impact on his hometown. Dingzhen’s sudden success inspired local youth to utilize social medias to become influencers. Through social media, the outer world get to know this remote village. Meanwhile, the interactive nature of social media also makes the village absorb new trend of the world and change the traditional thinking and customs of the past. Many new folk customs such as celebrating birthdays and throwing parties have been adapted. Through webcasting, either of spectacles such as birthday parties or of mundane nomadic daily life, locals obtain both attention and monetary gifts on social media platforms. The direct connection to their followers made it possible for locals to sell their local produce to consumers without middleman. Meanwhile in the offline world, stream of visitors to the village has prompted new business for local: locals working as guides when tours of the villages attractions are booked; Locals transforming their living space to host visitors. In the past, the villagers' communication was generally limited to friends and relatives in the village or neighboring villages, but now through the social media, locals can communicate with people from different regions and nationalities. This form of communication allows locals’ social life to break through the previous fixed geographical restrictions and realize cross-regional communication and information exchange. Among the predominantly female fans, some leave their big-city lives to visit their idol in the Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Garzê in southwest China's Sichuan. A few live with local families for months, learning Tibetan and helping out around the house, in order to immerse themselves as deeply as possible in their idea of the romantic, wild life of the local ethnic minority.

Xiangyu Long, Tibetan, born and raised in Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Aba, China. Xiangyu studied at the College of Chemical Engineering, Zhejiang University. Upon graduation, he went to southern Africa and worked in Zambia and Tanzania for half a decade as administration adviser. In 2016, he proceeded to Spain and pursued photography in L’Institut d’Estudis Fotogràfics de Catalunya. In 2019, he was awarded scholarship by Hannover University of Applied Sciences and Art to further his studies in documentary photography. He is currently based in Chengdu and Shanghai. His work focuses on the superimposition and metamorphosis of group identities under the scope of globalization and homogenization.

[ ISSUE REPORTING PICTURE STORY ] A long-term project on a single topic. It could focus on science, news, politics or any number of topics, ranging from coverage of a single person to an entire community. The project must convey a deep understanding of the subject. Each submission consists of 10 to 40 images. Each participant is allowed to enter up to 3 submissions. All images must be taken in 2020 or 2021. Stories on COVID-19 should not be entered in this category.

Judges for Issue Reporting Picture Story
Ikuru Kuwajima
Tanvi Mishra
Sanjit Das
Maika Elan
Oded Wagenstein