New Cosmos of Photography 2021 [44th edition]


Gwen LeeArtistic Director of Singapore International Photography Festival/ Director of DECK

Photography is a powerful and dynamic medium that enable us to navigate and to express the world surrounding us and as well as the inner world within us. In my personal life experience of photography as a consumer and as a curator, photography has never failed to deliver a moment of magic, surprise, and connection that can be both mentally stimulating and emotional stirring.

Within this static form, the image is a mediated portal to revisit and to reconcile in a contained time and space that has passed. As the presence of photography in our visual culture is constantly evolving with the onset of technology development and internet social platforms, likewise artists of our time respond and approach photography as a good challenge to redefine and to stretch the viscosity of this medium that is inherent in our life. Under the current context of uncertainties, photography serves not only as a record of our times; it embodies the spirt of our generation and humanity, and serve a precursor on how the photography (images) continue to play a vital presence in our societies and our relationship with one another.


In 2008, Gwen Lee is the co-founder of Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF), a biennale international photography platform. In 2010, she is awarded by the Japan Chamber of Commerce & Trade for her contribution to the Singapore arts community. In 2013 she embarked on curatorial research in Germany supported by Goethe Institut Singapore & National Arts Council. In2013, the photo festival receive arts council grants to further develop public photography education in Singapore. In 2014, Gwen and team built an art space call “DECK” to provide all year-round platform and residency programme for photographers. DECK container art space received the Singapore President's Design Award 2015 for its innovative architectural design.
Over last 13 years, Gwen has curated & organised over 40 photography exhibitions both in Singapore and overseas. These includes Margins: drawing pictures of home, Flux: Contemporary Photography from China at Art Science Museum, Green and Gold: Singapore photography, Steidl 101 Books, solo exhibitions of Daido Moriyama (2016) and Araki Nobuyoshi (2018). She has served as a jury member and portfolio reviewer on various platforms including FOAM Paul Huf Award, FORMAT, KL PHOTO Award, KG+, DIPE China, Houston Fotofestival, Daegul Photo Biennale, Recontres d' Arles and Ballarat International Foto Biennale.

Ryan McGinleyPhotographer

Photography has an amazing ability to embrace the chaos and beauty of life. It can be used to create worlds that don't exist. This past year has been challenging for everyone. We've had to adapt in ways we never imagined. I'm excited to see the inventive and inspiring directions photographers are exploring in response to this moment and I look forward to seeing the beauty that's been created under such constraint.


Ryan McGinley was born in 1977, in Ramsey, New Jersey. He received a BFA in graphic design at Parsons School of Design, NY in 2000. At 25 years of age, McGinley had an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, making him the youngest artist ever to have a solo show at the institution. His photography has been the subject of several international exhibitions including solo museum shows at the Tokyo Opera City Gallery in Tokyo, ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Denmark, the Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Bergamo, Daelim Museum in Seoul, Kunsthal KAdE in The Netherlands, MUSAC in Léon, Spain, and MoMA PS1 in New York. His editorial work has appeared in numerous publications such as The New York Times, Interview, Rolling Stone, and Vogue. He currently lives in New York, New York.

Yuki OnoderaPhotographer

Photographs are not truly photographic?
First, think back to shortly after photography was first invented. An optical device called a “camera” created a flat depiction of what happened before it. People saw their own likenesses as captured by cameras. These were both extraordinarily peculiar experiences. This quest for the “peculiar” is one of the things that draws me to photography.

For something to truly be art, it is clear that there must be some sort of questioning and exploration of the medium. Artists must not merely accept the medium as is, but must struggle with its expressive methods.
Far and above all, art requires originality, originality, and yet more originality. This is the heart of each artwork. That's what I want to look for.
I was a winner of the very first New Cosmos of Photography competition in 1991. This competition places no restrictions whatsoever on size or expressive format, provided that submissions are photographs. At the time, this was groundbreaking. Can photographs continue to evolve? What kinds of artworks will be produced through free expression in our restricted and confined society? I get excited just thinking about it.


Yuki Onodera was born in Toky1962. In 1993, she established a studio in Paris and began to work internationally. Onodera's experimental work, which does not fit within schemas of “photography,” often poses two questions: what is photography, and what can be done through it? She uses any possible method to realize her works, whether this means taking photographs with a marble inside her camera, or creating a story out of a legend and traveling to the ends of the earth to shoot it. Onodera is known her two-meter-high darkroom prints by herself, oil painting on a photography, as well as for other original hands-on methods. Her work is held in collections around the world, including those of Centre Georges Pompidou, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Shanghai Art Museum and The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. Among other locations, her solo exhibitions have been held at The National Museum of Art, Osaka (2005), Shanghai Art Museum (2006), The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (2010), The Museum of Photography, Seoul (2010) and Musée Nicéphore Niépce, France (2011) , Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris (2015).

Noi SawaragiArt Critic

I doubt there has ever been an age in which photography has strayed this far from its literal meaning of “a reflection of truth” (shashin in Japanese).
No one today believes that photographs reflect some immutable truth. On the contrary, photographs are transforming day by day into something chimerical. We might ask exactly who will grasp the meaning of this strangeness before the rest of us? But, no, even this formulation is nothing more than a restatement of bygone expressions that stressed independence (which may be more fiction than fact). This is not about comprehending. Rather, will it be possible that someone will transform into an actual photograph? Perhaps it will be possible to summon a world on the edge of despair in which it is impossible to tell where the photographer ends and the subject begins. As this implies, photography is now engulfed by a raw sense of danger.


Born in Chichibu City in 1962, Noi Sawaragi is a renowned art critic. His first collection of critical essays, Simulationism: House Music and Appropriation Art (Yosensha), came out in 1991, putting at its core sampling, cutups, and remixing, which had a profound influence on art, photography, and music as well as many subsequent artists and creators. His numerous publications include Japan, Modernity, and Art (Shinchosha, 1998), which sparked widespread controversy for calling Japan a “bad place,” Gobijutsuron, which received the 25th Yoshida Hidekazu Award, and Shinbijutsuron, which received the 2017 Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts in the Critics Category (both titles published by Bijitsu Shuppan-sha). Sawaragi is currently a professor at Tama Art University's Faculty of Art and Design and a member of the Institute for Art Anthropology.

Minoru ShimizuPhoto Critic

“True-to-life.” “Natural.” “Savage.” Such abstract, ad-copy-like expressions that untrained observers of photography irresponsibly spit out have no currency.
Photographs may assume any story or narrative, but photographs should never be tainted by the story.
Please single out your ideal subject, not your familiar acquaintances. And please show me your thought-out photos, your discovered photos, not your off-hand photos.
Digital technology continues to open up unknown realms in digital photography, which has already parted ways from just “not being” analog photography. Expressions that connect such unknown realms to the future and to the past, expressions that make me rediscover photography, those are the expressions I'm waiting for.


Since 1995, Minoru Shimizu has developed his work as a critic focusing on modern art, photography, and modern music.
He received the Shigemorikoen Photo Criticism Award for his 1995 publication The Photographic Invisible: James Welling (Wako Works of Art, 1995). Some of his major books include Shashin to Hibi [Days with Photographs] (Gendai Shichoshinsha, 2006), Hibi Kore Shashin [Daily Photographs] (Gendai Shichoshinsha, 2009), and Pluramon (Gendai Shichoshinsha, 2011). Currently, he serves as a professor at the Faculty of Global and Regional Studies at Doshisha University.

Takashi YasumuraPhotographer

One of the keenest impressions the contest left on me as a former entrant was the difficulty of finishing my work by the deadline. I guess I wasn't used to the kind of commitment to your work needed for a public contest, in which your work has to be finished after a fashion. An option for entrants who might have some reservations about their submission is to put a little more time into the work after the contest. You could also buy into the idea that nothing is ever truly finished. I believe, however, that submitting a work is a way of bringing to an end, even if only temporarily, the relationship between yourself and the work. When you take this approach to your work, something new will likely come into focus. As a judge, I'm looking forward to encountering joys of photography I have yet to experience.


He was born in Shiga, Japan in 1972, and graduated from department of photography, College of Art, Nihon University, in 1995. He got a Grand prize of 8th New Cosmos of Photography in 1999. He published “Domestic Scandals” and held a solo exhibition in PARCO MUSEAM in 2005, joined group exhibition “Photo Espana” in 2006, published “1/1” in 2017.

Daisuke YokotaPhotographer

Every artist goes through periods of insufferable tedium in which they question why they continue to do what they do. By persevering through such periods however, certain modest discoveries are eventually made that I believe extend the life of an artist's personal work — work that does not even know who its audience will be. With each of these life-extensions, a route unique to that artist will gradually coalescence, though at a glance the path to the artist's destination is inscrutable. At times, for the artist, the work may seem as dull as a nondescript day. But for others, the same work may be wondrous, replete with astonishing freshness and mystery. And in this, I feel a small hope.
I have mixed feelings about being on the judging side to be honest, as I am essentially in the same place as you. Nevertheless, I am exceedingly grateful for the opportunity to be present at the end of this inspiring competition.


Born in 1983 in Saitama Prefecture, Daisuke Yokota is a graduate of the Nippon Photography Institute. He won an Honorable Mention Award (selected by Katsumi Omori) at the 2008 Canon New Cosmos of Photography and took the Grand Prize at the 2nd 1_WALL Photography Competition in 2010. He also received the Foam Paul Huf Award in 2016 and the 45th Kimura Ihei Photography Award in 2019.
Daisuke Yokota has published numerous photo collections in various countries, including Tarachine (Session Press, 2015), VERTIGO (Newfave, 2014), and MATTER/BURN OUT (artbeat publishers, 2016).
His major solo and group exhibitions include Site / Cloud (2014) and Matter (2017) at the Foam photography museum, SHAPE OF LIGHT (Tate Modern, 2018), Painting the Night (Centre Pompidou-Metz, 2018 – 2019), and Photographs (rin art association, from April 4 to June 6, 2021).