show of Wendy Cheng's photos
Wendy Cheng, a first-year graduate student in
the Geography Department here at Berkeley, is the winner of the
2002 Dorothea Lange Fellowship.
The $4,000 prize is awarded each year
to a Berkeley faculty member, graduate student or senior accepted
for graduate studies for outstanding work in documentary
photography and a creative plan for future work.
Cheng was honored for her photographs of
the urban landscape in Taipei, Taiwan and Tokyo, Japan
two locales that have strikingly different approaches to space.
"In Tokyo, everything is planned and
there is an aesthetic sense to every open space," said Cheng.
"By contrast, the landscape in Taipei is more haphazard and
random, and not really set up to accommodate the movement of its
Cheng said her work is influenced by the
"New Topographics" movement launched in the 1970s.
These photographers, she said, "challenged
people to consider all of their surroundings pretty gardens
as well as the parking lot next door as part of the landscape."
Using her fellowship money, Cheng will
travel around the country this summer in her car to document new
tract-housing developments in the West and compare them to more
established suburbs in the East.
"The tract home is rapidly becoming
the dominant American residential form, with deep cultural, social
and economic implications," she said. "These communities
seem to rise up overnight on the overgrown fields we played on
The fellowship, sponsored by the Office
of Public Affairs, was created in honor of Dorothea Lange, one
of the 20th centurys most accomplished documentary
Lange's moving depictions of migrant farm
workers shot while working for the Farm Security Administration
came to symbolize the tragedy of the Great Depression and
spurred the government to provide assistance for those it touched.
Lange's husband, Berkeley economics professor Paul Taylor, established
the fellowship in 1981 to support the use of color or black-and-white
photography in an academic project.