Biography: Edwin Koo

Edwin Koo was born in Singapore in 1978. He graduated with first class honours from Nanyang Technological University’s School of Communication Studies, specialising in journalism. In 2003, he stumbled into photography when he landed a full-time job as a photojournalist in the now-defunct tabloid Streats. In 2008, after five years as a news photographer, he left the newsroom and moved to Nepal with his newly-wedded wife. As an independent documentary photographer, Koo focused mainly on issues of human displacement and a lost sense of identity. His pet subjects included Tibetan exiles, Maoist guerrillas and Pakistan’s Swat Valley.

In 2011, Koo returned home. His first personal project in Singapore – dedicated to his newborn son – was to document the historic 2011 general elections. This culminated in his first solo exhibition, Notes from a Singapore Son (2011), a body of work reflecting the currents of change in Singapore’s political landscape.

Koo’s work has been recognised internationally. In 2009, he was awarded the Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography and his work on Pakistan won a third placing in the UNICEF Photo of the Year. In 2012, he was awarded the ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu, which recognises a Singaporean artist for an outstanding body of photographic work.

The portrait of Edwin Koo was drawn by Flee Circus.

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