An-My Lê is a Vietnamese American photographer and professor at Bard College. She is a 2012 MacArthur Foundation
Fellow and has received the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship
(1997), the National Science Foundation Antarctic
Artists and Writers Program Award (2007), and the Tiffany Comfort Foundation
Fellowship (2010). Her work was included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial.
An-My Lê was born in Saigon, Vietnam, in 1960, and now lives and works in New York. Lê fled Vietnam with her family as a teenager in 1975, the final year of the war, eventually settling in the United States as a political refugee. She studied biology at Stanford University
, receiving her BA in 1981 and her MA in 1985. She attended Yale School of Art
, receiving her MFA in 1993.
Her book Small Wars
was published in 2005. In November 2014, her second book, Events Ashore
, was published by Aperture
. Events Ashore depicts a 9-year exploration of the US Navy working throughout the world. The project began when the artist was invited to photograph US naval ships preparing for deployment to Iraq, the first in a series of visits to battleships, humanitarian missions in Africa and Asia, training exercises, and scientific missions in the Arctic and Antarctic.
In 1994 An-My Lê returned to Vietnam for the first time and began making a series of photographs informed by her own memories and by the stories and perceptions of her family. Since then her photographs and films have addressed the impact of war both environmentally and culturally. Whether in color or black-and-white, her pictures capture the disjunction between the natural landscape and the intervention of soldiers and machines meant for destruction.
Projects include Viêt Nam
(1994–98), in which Lê's memories of a war-torn countryside are reconciled with the contemporary landscape; Small Wars
(1999–2002), in which Lê photographed and participated in Vietnam War reenactments in Virginia; and 29 Palms
(2003–04) in which United States Marines preparing for deployment playact scenarios in a virtual Middle East in the California desert.