Edwin Koo was born in Singapore in 1978. He studied journalism at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and graduated with a Bachelor of Communication Studies.
His photographic career began in 2003 as a photojournalist. During his newsroom stint, he worked in a free tabloid (Streats) and also a national broadsheet (The Straits Times).
In 2008, Koo left the newsroom and moved to Nepal with his wife Maria, where he began his next chapter as an independent documentary photographer. Based out of Kathmandu, Koo focused mainly on issues of human displacement and a lost sense of identity. His preoccupations include Tibetan exiles, Maoist guerrillas and Pakistan’s Swat Valley.
Koo returned to Singapore in 2011. Confronting an altered homeland, Koo began work which examines his own sense of identity, with the online moniker @singaporeson. His work-in-progress, Notes from a Singapore Son, is a collection of photographs documenting Singapore’s electoral history since 2011. Using a deeply personal, black-and-white photographic style, he records and comments on this upended social and political landscape. Another work-in-progress, Transit, examines the phenomenon of daily displacement, in a city-state destined to house 6.9 million people. A collective portrait of a fledgling nation in constant flux, Transit is at once a photographic dialogue, as well as a reflection of Singapore’s state of being.
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.
He has been published in international titles such as GEO, International Herald Tribune, and The New York Times and has been exhibited in Europe and Asia.