Winner 2003: Andrea Hoyer
Photogapher Andrea Hoyer has won the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2003 for her photo reportage of Russia, ‘Places of Memory’. Begun in 1998, the long-term project of the German-born Leica photographer documents in sensitively composed black-and-white pictures the longing, perspectives and moods of the Russian population.
The pictures show representative elements of the past Soviet Union such as Stalin monuments and inside views of the Red Army and feature the wide expanses of Russia's landscape as well as towns and Black Sea beaches. Andrea Hoyer, who lives in New York, focuses on the situation of the people: their loneliness on their own and in groups, their lack of orientation or the security of their circle of family and friends. The photographer does not aim for the bold drama of press photos, but uses her keen powers of observation to intensify moods and their reflections in her own soul. This is why the jury considered she had captured the essential spirit of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, conferred by Leica Camera AG for photoreportage depicting relations between man and his environment.
Born in Göttingen, Andrea Hoyer took a degree in Oriental Studies at Columbia University in New York City. She received her photographic training at the New York International Center for Photography (ICP), among other places. The Leica Oskar Barnack Award is the first international recognition of her work.
The jury of this year's Oskar Barnack Award (which is named after the inventor of the Leica) also made two honorable mentions: to the Danish press photographer Jan Grarup for his complex project on the world’s forgotten refugees and to the Brition Vanessa Winship for her project “Albanian Landscape”.
Andrea Hoyer, born in Goettingen, grew up in Germany and the USA. Studied photography in San Francisco and at New York’s Columbia University, graduated with honours in Middle-Eastern Studies/Arabic. In 1995, after one year studying Uzbek, Hoyer began shooting in the Central-Asian states of the former USSR and followed this with work predominantly shot in Russia. Works from six years in the former USSR are gathered in ‘ReCollections’, her first book of photography, published in 2011. It was nominated for the Deutschen Fotobuchpreis 2012. Since 2012, she has begun sculpting and models the heads of imaginary persons in clay.
She combines this side of her work with her interest in the individual and collective memories of people and ethnic groups and adapts photographic principles to this other medium.