The Story Behind the Story: Sim Chi Yin on photographing 'The Great Divide' (VIDEO)


Sim Chi Yin working in Los Angeles


Kevin Grant


In January, Sim Chi Yin and her camera crossed 6,000 miles and 16 time zones to document the lives of migrant workers in Beijing and Los Angeles. The two cities share a Gini coefficient of about 0.48, and she set out to learn what income inequality looked like in both places.

In Beijing she found migrants from other parts of China trying to save some money to return home. In L.A., she found Latin American immigrants desperately searching for the American Dream they had traveled so far to find. But the parallels surprised her.

“The lives of these two migrants [in L.A. and Beijing] are woven together through the shared experience of just how hard it is to find work in the shadows of two of the greatest economies in the world,” she wrote in a recent post for GlobalPost’s GroundTruth blog

Through her breathtaking photographs, Chi Yin explored two similar worlds often hidden from mainstream society. In this video, she tells GlobalPost's “The Story Behind the Story" what it took to capture these images, what surprised her and why she wanted to tell this story of inequality.

More from GlobalPost: The Great Divide: Global income inequality and its cost