Aly Song

Aly Song

Shanghai, China
Lanzhou, China
“No one, single assignment affected me most. Each story contributes to what I do.”


I cover politics, economics and culture in China.

One Shot

A resident walks in an area where old residential buildings are being demolished to make room for new skyscrapers in central Shanghai.
“I like this image because to me it represents change in China. I think in this country the economy changes super fast – every year it’s different – but politics and people’s lives don’t really change so much. I find China a very interesting place.”


Some of my earliest memories of photography are seeing Robert Capa picture stories about people in Germany, the UK and all over Europe during the Second World War.

I taught myself photography. I bought photo magazines and books, and I really liked the pictures, they had so much power. I thought, these pictures are really nice; I’d like to try this myself.

Work is so busy at Reuters, I don’t really remember my first assignment here! Before Reuters I worked for a very small local Chinese newspaper that covered very minor news. Things like, ‘a car has crashed into a tree and the firemen have come to take it away.’ Reuters was a big change from that.

No one, single assignment affected me most. Each story contributes to what I do; the Great Wall wasn’t built in one day.

I enjoy covering feature stories because they always surprise you. I like watching people building up their own lives.

When covering the Sichuan earthquake in China, I went to a small village in the mountains in the region that had been hit. People had to leave their damaged houses, and the children and old women were walking away slowly. I felt terrible taking pictures. I learnt that sometimes it’s not the right time to take pictures, sometimes I need to put aside my job and go and be with people.