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Profiles of judges

New Cosmos of Photography 2015 (the 38th competition)

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the New Cosmos of Photography.
During the transition from the 20th to the 21st century, the New Cosmos of Photography drew attention to a great number of photographers who have enjoyed great success both inside and outside Japan.
From now, it will showcase the next generation of photographers.


Frits Gierstberg (Curator of the Nederlands Fotomuseum)

Haarlem, the Netherlands,1959 studied art history at Leiden University and specialised in contemporary art, architecture, film and photography. He was Extraordinary Professor of Photography at the Erasmus University Rotterdam from 2006 till 2010, where he taught theory of documentary photography at the Media and Journalism Dept. Currently he is visiting tutor at the Piet Zwart Institute and curator at the Nederlands Fotomuseum, both in Rotterdam. He has he has published widely and was co-author of The Dutch Photobook (Aperture). In 2013 he was guest curator for the XIIIth Gjon Mili exhibition at the Kosova National Art Gallery in Pristina. One of his current projects is an exhibition about European portrait photography since 1989 that opens at BOZAR, Brussels in 2015.

Natsumi Araki (Curator of the Mori Art Museum)

Receiving an MA in Museum Studies from Leicester University in England and a BA in Literature from Keio University, she started her career as a curator at Mitaka City Arts Foundation in 1994. She has been a curator at Mori Art Museum since 2003 and has been teaching at Keio University since 2010. Her major exhibitions include “The World is a Stage: Stories behind Pictures” (2005), “Roppongi Crossing 2007: Future Beats in Japanese Contemporary Art” (2007), “Odani Motohiko: Phantom Limbs” (2010), “All You Need is Love: From Chagall to Kusama and Hatsune Miku” (2013), “Go-Betweens: The World Seen Through Children“ (2014)”. She also co-curated “City-net Asia 2009” at Seoul Museum of Art. Awarded the 26th Ringa Art Encouragement Prize (Art Criticism Division) for “Go-Betweens” exhibition.

Tomoko Sawada (Artist)

She was born in Kobe City in 1977. She completed studies as a photography class research student at Seian University of Art and Design. Since her student days, she has developed works on the theme of the relationship between one’s inner life and outward appearance through self-portrait techniques. Her debut work ID400 was recognized with an Honorable Mention Award at the 2000 Canon New Cosmos of Photography. She received the 2004 Kimura Ihei Memorial Photography Award and The Twentieth Annual ICP Infinity Award for Young Photographers from the New York International Center of Photography, among others. Her work has been exhibited around the world. Publications include illustrated books, as well as collections of photographs. In 2015, she plans to publish two collections through Seigensha Art Publishing in the spring and another collection through a publisher in Paris. She will hold an exhibit of new works in March at MEM in Tokyo and participate in group exhibitions in New York and Los Angeles. She is a visiting professor at Seian University of Art and Design and a part-time lecturer at Kwansei Gakuin University.

Hiraki Sawa (Artist)

He was born in Ishikawa Prefecture in 1977. He received a MFA from the Slade School of Art at University College, London in 2003. His 2002 work Dwelling earned an East International Award in the Young Artist Category. He has participated in numerous international group exhibitions, including Biennale de Lyon (2003 and 2013), Yokohama Trienniale (2005), the Asia Pacific Triennial (2009), and the Biennale of Sydney (2010). He has had solo exhibits: Lineament, in 2012 at the Shiseido Gallery, and Whirl, in 2012 at the Kanagawa Kenmin Hall Gallery. He also had his first large-scale Japanese solo exhibit Under the Box, Beyond the Bounds in 2014 at the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery. The videos and video installations he has produced express a creative space and fascinate the viewer. He currently resides in London.

Minoru Shimizu (Photo critic)

He has been active in criticism, centered on contemporary art, photography, and modern music, since 1995. He received the first 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 is a professor in the Faculty of Global and Regional Studies at Doshisha University.

Rika Noguchi (Photographer)

She was born in Saitama Prefecture in 1971. She graduated from the Photography Course at Nihon University College of Art in 1994. Beginning with photographic works created while at university, she has been active in photography, centering on exhibits of her work held around the world. In 1996, she received the New Cosmos of Photography Grand Prize. Some of her major exhibitions in Japan include a feeling of something happening in 2001 at the Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art, Kagawa; I Dreamt of Flying in 2004 at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Light Reaching the Future in 2011 and 2012 at the Izu Photo Museum, Shizuoka; and My Father’s Album/Small Miracles in 2014 at Gallery 916, Tokyo. Her works have been added to public collections at The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris, and other museums. She has been living in Berlin since 2004.


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