Simone Cheung | Sydney, Australia

Instead of just recording reality, photographs have become the norm for the way things appear to us, thereby changing the very idea of reality and of realism...
- Susan Sontag, On Photography -

I was born in Hong Kong and moved to Australia when I was six years old. I came from a lower socioeconomic background, and witnessed a lot of physical violence between my parents. My life experiences drove me to my passion and desire to dedicate my life to the community and especially to people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

A largely self-taught photographer, I have had an interest in photography since I got my hands on my parents' film camera when I was about 10 years old. Combined with my love for travel and my interest in promoting social responsibility, human rights and social equality, I have developed quite a niche in photographing real people and real places all over the world.

Goya in Urdu means the suspension of disbelief that occurs in good storytelling. That is what my photography is all about - capturing those simple, ordinary moments in a special way where goya occurs; where the "as if" feels like reality. I want to show that every single person regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion or social status has that magical moment just waiting to be captured.


  • 2016 December: Completed Stories Not Selfies Workshop under the mentorship of Andrew Quilty, Sydney, Australia.

  • 2015 February: Completed Portraiture Workshop under the mentorship of Edwina Pickles, Sydney, Australia.

Non-commercial experience

  • 2018 to current - Photography for New Humans of Australia

  • 2017 to current - Photography and Videography Coordinator and Photographer for Women's March on Sydney

  • 2016 to current - Photographer for Global Sisters in Sydney, Australia

  • 2016 - Photographer for in Sydney, Australia

  • 2014 - Photographer for Marie Claire Indonesia for a story on the Bali bombing survivors. The photos appeared on Marie Claire Indonesia October issue

  • 2013 - Volunteer photographer for Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney

  • 2012 - Volunteer photographer for Austraining, photographing Australian volunteers at work on assignment in-country

  • 2011 - Volunteer photographer for Kingsford Legal Centre's 30th Birthday event and subsequently published in their 2011 Annual Report

  • 2011 - Volunteer photographer for Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2011

  • 2011 - Volunteer for Shoot the Sydney Festival @ The Seymour Centre

  • 2011 - Volunteer photographer for the Amateur Ashes 2011


  • 2019 – Selected to be part of Exposed, an exhibition bringing together 40 Australian women and non binary street photographers, Project Gallery 90, Paddington (group exhibition curated by Julia Coddington, Rebecca Wiltshire and Julie Hrudova)

  • 2017 – Associated Exhibitor for Head On Photo Festival ‘An Ordinary World’, Contact Sheet Gallery, Sydney (group exhibition curated by Paul McDonald)

  • 2016 - Art & About Australian Life exhibition at Hyde Park, Sydney (group exhibition with other finalists)

  • 2010 - Ordinarily... @ Cafe Lounge, Darlinghurst (solo)

Awards and Achievements

  • 2018 - Third Prize winner in the Sydney Local Health District ‘Living Well’ Photography Competition as part of Mental Health Week

  • 2018 - Top 10 finalist in Australian Photography Magazine Photographer of the Year (People and Portraits)

  • 2017 - Finalist in Fremantle Portrait Prize (top 6%)

  • 2016 - Fairfax Clique Australian Photographic Society overall portfolio finalist

  • 2016 - 1 of 22 Finalists in the Art & About Australian Life prize and published in the Sydney Morning Herald. See the article here.

  • 2015 - Published in Sydney Morning Herald and The Age Traveller twice

  • 2014 - Fairfax Clique Australian Photographic Society overall portfolio finalist and finalist in six of ten months

  • 2011 - Third place in the Beauty in the 'Burbs photography competition with image subsequently displayed at the Museum of Sydney along with the 52 Suburbs exhibition

  • 2011 - Images from my Canon People's Gallery selected by Canon Australia and Leo Burnett to be displayed as part of their 'bringing the World of EOS to life' exhibition @ PMA Imaging and Entertainment Expo