Mengwen Cao (they/them) is a photographer, artist, and educator. Born and raised in China, they are currently based in New York.
As a queer immigrant, they use care and tenderness to explore spaces between race, gender, and cultural identity. As a board member of Authority Collective, they are championing diverse narratives and perspectives in the media industry.
Their projects have been featured in publications like Aperture, the New York Times, NPR, Mashable, BUST, Foreign Policy, the Guardian, Sina, and Tencent. They have participated in international exhibitions like Photoville, Jimei x Arles, and Lianzhou Foto Festival.
Cao graduated from the New Media Narratives and Documentary Practice program at the International Center of Photography. They received NLGJA’s Excellence in Photojournalism Award in 2019. They were recognized by The Lit List in 2018, PDN 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch in 2019, and World Press Photo 6×6 Asia Talent in 2020.
Annenberg Space for Photography
Authority Collective presents queer artists of color who are re-visioning the lexicon that imagines the queer form: framing it as beautiful, strong, complex and multi-faceted.
CRAFTING YOUR CAREER: “Destigmatizing Side Hustles”
It’s the big open secret of the photography community: everyone does side work. Come and hear how different rockstar photographers subsidize and develop their careers with work that’s not just editorial photography.
Photography and Social Justice: Sharing Works in Progress
We’re sharing some inside looks into the processes and experiences of our 2020 Photography and Social Justice Fellows as their projects near completion.
Parallax: ReVisioning Queer and Trans People of Color in Photography
A panel discussion featuring the photographers and curators of the Authority Collective’s Parallax group show, sharing their perspectives on imaging the QTPOC experience.
Walking Tour with Mengwen Cao, Authority Collective
Tour Photoville with Mengwen Cao, artist and co-curator of the exhibition by Authority Collective, a group of womxn, femmes, trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people of color reclaiming their authority in the photography, film, VR/AR industries.