The 2023 Leica Oskar Barnack Award ceremony was held within the framework of the Celebration of Photography
On the evening of October 12, 2023, within the framework of the Celebration of Photography, Ismail Ferdous was presented with the Leica Oskar Barnack Award for the main category, while Ziyi Le was the recipient of the Newcomer Award. Once again this year, the presentation of the prizes to the LOBA winners featured as part of a large festive programme.
The Celebration of Photography 2023 at the Leitz-Park Wetzlar, extended over three days and was dedicated to living the passion for photography. A major highlight during the eventful evening of October 12, was the presentation of this year’s LOBA awards.
The LOBA 2023 winners: In the main category, it was the Bangladeshi, US-based photographer Ismail Ferdous (born 1989), whose “Sea Beach” series convinced the jury. The images show the colourful diversity of visitors and tourists at the legendary Cox’s Bazar Beach, located in the most southern point of Bangladesh. The Leica Oskar Barnack Award in the Newcomer category went to Chinese photographer Ziyi Le (born 1993). His tender series presents a sensitive portrait of the “New Comer”, a generation in search of its place in Chinese society. In conversation on the stage with Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, the two recipients offered touching insights into the stories behind their pictures. Both series, together with the ten projects chosen to complete the 2023 LOBA shortlist, remain on display at the Ernst Leitz Museum up until January 2024.
Elliott Erwitt at the Leica Gallery Wetzlar. Following the LOBA award ceremony on the evening of October 12, Leica Camera AG announced the latest photographer to be inducted into the Leica Hall of Fame: this year it was Erwitt Elliott (born 1928) who was honoured with the award for his life’s work. The American with European roots is considered one of the most important and influential photographers of our times. Born in 1928, the Magnum photographer has an enormous and unique body of work. He personally put together the selection of 50 of his best motifs for the exhibition at the Leica Gallery Wetzlar. Furthermore, one of his iconic motifs was chosen as Leica Picture of the Year 2023: the portrait of a bulldog sitting on its owner’s lap was taken in New York City in the year 2000. The Leica Picture of the Year is limited to an edition of 80 copies worldwide, and can be acquired exclusively through Leica Galleries.
Celebration of Photography (CoP). The festivities already began on October 11, with numerous tours through Leica Headquarters and further Leica locations around Wetzlar. Guests were introduced to the latest Leica Watch. A further highlight which took place during the award ceremony on the evening of October 12, was the presentation by British poet and author Hussain Manawer, who recited his very own, poetic interpretation of the winning LOBA series. The event programme concluded on the morning of October 13, with a panel discussion titled “A Commitment to the Truth: Photojournalism in Crisis?” In front of a large audience, moderator Ulrich Rüter, LOBA winner Ismail Ferdous, shortlist nominee Laetitia Vançon and photo editor and curator Lars Lindemann, discussed the rapidly-changing conditions of photojournalism today. It once again brought to light the significance of LOBA, which has not only mapped the changes that have taken place, but continues to represent an important forum for engaged photojournalism.
The 2023 LOBA catalogue is now available: with 146 pages, it includes 118 images plus index. The publication presents the full series – with background information – by both award winners, Ismail Ferdous and Ziyi Le, as well as the further ten nominees who made it onto the 2023 LOBA shortlist.