The Winners

The Leica Oskar Barnack Award winners and their prize-winning series
from 1980 to 2019.

Overview of the winners 1980–2019

Overview of the winners 1980–2019

The Leica Oskar Barnack Award has been granted since 1980. The occasion for the launch of the competition was the centenary in 1979 of Oskar Barnack (1879–1936), the leading inventor and pioneer of 35mm photography. Since then, the winning series have produced a vibrant archive of the history of photography and photojournalism. The list of award winners provides an initial overview, while the individual presentations on this web-page offer further insight into the photographers and their series.

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Winner 2019: Mustafah Abdulaziz

Winner 2019: Mustafah Abdulaziz

Mustafah Abdulaziz’s approach to his monumental series is his way of processing his understanding of water as a universal theme. For over eight years now he has been travelling the world, searching for metaphorical or striking images that capture the significance that water can have. When considering the work involved in the series, Abdulaziz offers a glimpse into his particular way of thinking and how the project came about.

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Winner Award Newcomer 2019: Nanna Heitmann

Winner Award Newcomer 2019: Nanna Heitmann

Kingdom of Myths: The Yenisei River is one of the longest rivers in the world, and it was the guiding line that Nanna Heitmann followed through Siberia. She speaks about the ideas that lie behind her “Hiding from Baba Yaga” series.

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Winner 2018: Max Pinckers

Winner 2018: Max Pinckers

First prize of the highly prestigious photography competition, the ‘Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2018’, main category, goes to Belgian photographer Max Pinckers for his series entitled ‘Red Ink’. He receives a prize of 25,000 euros and a Leica M camera and lens.

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Winner Award Newcomer 2018: Mary Gelman

Winner Award Newcomer 2018: Mary Gelman

The Leica Oskar Barnack Award Newcomer 2018 goes to Mary Gelman for her series „Svetlana“. She receives a prize of 10,000 euros and a Leica M camera and lens.

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Winner 2017: Terje Abusdal

Winner 2017: Terje Abusdal

The 2017 Leica Oskar Barnack Award goes to Terje Abusdal. Born in Norway, Terje Abusdal is honoured with this prestigious photography prize for „Slash & Burn“ and receives 25,000 euros and a Leica M camera and lens.

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Winner Award Newcomer 2017: Sergey Melnitchenko

Winner Award Newcomer 2017: Sergey Melnitchenko

Winner of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award Newcomer 2017 is Sergey Melnitchenko for his series „Behind the Scenes“. He receives 10,000 euros and a Leica M camera and lens.

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Winner 2016: Scarlett Coten

Winner 2016: Scarlett Coten

Scarlett Coten is honoured with the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2016 for her project titled „Mectoub“ and receives 25,000 euros and a Leica M camera and lens.

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Winner Newcomer Award 2016: Clémentine Schneidermann

Winner Newcomer Award 2016: Clémentine Schneidermann

Winner of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award Newcomer 2016 is Clémentine Schneidermann for her series „The Unbearable, the Sadness and the Rest“. She receives 10,000 euros and a Leica M camera and lens.

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Winner 2015: JH Engström

Winner 2015: JH Engström

JH Engström is honoured with the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2015 with his project titled „Tout Va Bien” and will receive a cash prize of 25,000 euros and a Leica M camera and lens.

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Winner Newcomer 2015: Wiktoria Wojciechowska

Winner Newcomer 2015: Wiktoria Wojciechowska

The Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award, first presented in 2009, has been won by Wiktoria Wojciechowska for her series „Short Flashes“. She receives a prize of 5,000 euros and a Leica M camera and lens.

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Winner 2014: Martin Kollar

Winner 2014: Martin Kollar

Martin Kollar, born in what was formerly Czechoslovakia, receives the prestigious Leica Oskar Barnack Award for his project Field Trip, a portfolio of photos taken in Israel.

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Winner Award Newcomer 2014: Alejandro Cegarra

Winner Award Newcomer 2014: Alejandro Cegarra

The Leica Oskar Barnack Award Newcomer 2014 goes to Alejandro Cegarra from Venezuela. His portfolio „The Other Side of the Tower of David“ is dedicated to the squatters in an abandoned tower block in Caracas.

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Winner 2013: Evgenia Arbugaeva

Winner 2013: Evgenia Arbugaeva

The 2013 Leica Oskar Barnack Award goes to Evgenia Arbugaeva. Born in Siberia, Evgenia Arbugaeva has been awarded this prestigious photography prize for „Tiksi“, a portfolio of her images from a project shot in the small town of the same name on the Arctic coast of northern Siberia.

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Winner Award Newcomer 2013: Ciril Jazbec

Winner Award Newcomer 2013: Ciril Jazbec

The international jury chose Ciril Jazbec from Slovenia as the winner of the 2013 Leica Oskar Barnack Award Newcomer. His portfolio of images entitled ‘Waiting to move’ tells the story of an Inuit village in Alaska facing the threat of global warming.

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Winner 2012: Frank Hallam Day

Winner 2012: Frank Hallam Day

First prize in this year’s highly prestigious photography competition, the ‘Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2012’, goes to US photographer Frank Hallam Day for his portfolio entitled ‘Alumascapes’.

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Winner Award Newcomer 2012: Piotr Zbierski

Winner Award Newcomer 2012: Piotr Zbierski

Piotr Zbierski is the winner of the ‘Leica Oskar Barnack Award Newcomer 2012’ with his portfolio ‘Pass by Me’.

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Winner 2011: Jan Grarup

Winner 2011: Jan Grarup

First prize in last year’s highly prestigious photographic competition, the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2011, went to the Danish photographer Jan Grarup for his portfolio ‘Haiti Aftermath’.

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Winner Award Newcomer 2011: Jing Huang

Winner Award Newcomer 2011: Jing Huang

With his portfolio ‘Pure of Sight’, Chinese photographer Jing Huang was the winner of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award Newcomer 2011.

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Winner 2010: Jens Olof Lasthein

Winner 2010: Jens Olof Lasthein

After a period of unrest and civil war, the Republic of Abkhazia in South Caucasus proclaimed its independence; but under international law it belongs to Georgia. This is a politically difficult situation that is also reflected in everyday living conditions. The Swedish photographer took this uncertainty as the starting point for his series, which was honoured with the 2010 Leica Oskar Barnack Award.

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Winner Award Newcomer 2010: Andy Spyra

Winner Award Newcomer 2010: Andy Spyra

Andy Spyra, from Hagen in Germany, is the winner of the ‘Leica Oskar Barnack Award Newcomer 2010’. His photography project ‘Kashmir’ ranks among his most important long-term projects. For him, the region he visited for the first time in 2007 is one of the world’s most wonderful places. All the more reason for him to lament the unfortunate situation of the people who live there.

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Winner 2009: Mikhael Subotzky

Winner 2009: Mikhael Subotzky

The first prize in this year’s highly prestigious photographic competition, the ‘Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2009’, goes to the 28-year-old photographer Mikhael Subotzky from South Africa. His prize-winning portfolio, under the title of ‘Beaufort West’, shows scenes from the South African town of the same name.

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Winner Award Newcomer 2009: Dominic Nahr

Winner Award Newcomer 2009: Dominic Nahr

The Swiss-born photographer Dominic Nahr has won the ‘Leica Oskar Barnack Award Newcomer’, for the first time awarded this year, for his photographic essay from the Congo, titled ‘The Road to Nowhere’.

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Winner 2008: Lucia Nimcova

Winner 2008: Lucia Nimcova

Photographer Lucia Nimcova has been chosen as the winner of this year’s Leica Oskar Barnack Award for her photo project “Unofficial“. The pictures of the winning series were taken in 2007 in Slovakia.

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Winner 2007: Julio Bittencourt

Winner 2007: Julio Bittencourt

A window into life: Julio Bittencourt documented living conditions in a dilapidated block of flats in his home town of São Paulo, offering us profound glimpses into an overcrowded neighbourhood. These rather poetic insights tell a story of poverty and suffering, but also of the dignity of life. In 2007 he received the Leica Oskar Barnack Award for his series, In a window of Prestes Maia 911 building.

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Winner 2006: Tomas Munita

Winner 2006: Tomas Munita

Chilean photographer Tomas Munita has won the prestigious Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2006 with his photo report ‘Kabul — Leaving the Shadows’. The title ‘Leaving the Shadows‘ is fitting for two reasons: it alludes to both the form — the concentration on twilight moods and the content — a description of the living situation of the Afghan population.

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Winner 2005: Guy Tillim

Winner 2005: Guy Tillim

The South African photographer Guy Tillim won the 2005 Leica Oskar Barnack Award with his photo reportage “Jo’burg Story”. His series documents the transformation of the town from an urban enclave of the white minority to an “African town”, as the photographer puts it. Tillim was the first photographer on the African continent to receive the Leica Oskar Barnack Award.

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Winner 2004: Peter Granser

Winner 2004: Peter Granser

Photographer Peter Granser, born in 1971, has won the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2004 for his photo project 'Coney Island'. The 5,000 euro photojournalism prize will be awarded by the Leica Camera Group in collaboration with the 'Rencontres de la Photographie' festival held in Arles in the South of France.

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Winner 2003: Andrea Hoyer

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.

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Winner 2002: Narelle Autio

Winner 2002: Narelle Autio

Saturated colours, intense light, happy people, blue seas, clouds: the Australian photographer won the 2002 LOBA for her lively picture series dedicated to beach life. Her complex compositions represent a great homage to the beauty of the Australian coastal landscape and convinced the jury, with their content and form, that the series best captured the competition’s theme of humanity’s relationship with the environment.

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Winner 2001: Bertrand Meunier

Winner 2001: Bertrand Meunier

China in upheaval: Delahaye’s powerful series “Erased”, presents the consequences of economic change for its people, and earned him the 2001 Leica Oskar Barnack Award. With strong motifs in black and white, the French photographer speaks of the end of China’s great industrial cities, while placing the harsh realities of life for the workers at the heart of the project.

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Winner 2000: Luc Delahaye

Winner 2000: Luc Delahaye

The award-winning series for the year 2000 takes us on a journey through Russia in the depths of winter. Delahaye reveals the troubles and miseries of the russian population during the changes gripping post-communist Russia. The unusually intense chromaticity underlines the intimate ruthlessness of the series.

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Winner 1999: Claudine Doury

Winner 1999: Claudine Doury

In order to complete the series for which she received the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, the French photographer went on many journeys. She travelled extensively from the Amur River on the Russian-Chinese border to the far northern reaches above the Arctic Circle. Her mission was to photograph the last of the nomadic peoples living there. She dealt deeply with the traditions of the inhabitants of this Siberian region, while simultaneously delivering a fascinating picture of the land’s endless expanses.

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Winner 1998: Fabio Ponzio

Winner 1998: Fabio Ponzio

The East: a vast and mysterious region that was yet to be explored. For a period of twenty years, the Italian photographer took his camera on a journey of over 250,000 kilometres, travelling through strange lands and different political systems. In 1998, his work earned him the Leica Oskar Barnack Award.

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Winner 1997: Jane Evelyn Atwood

Winner 1997: Jane Evelyn Atwood

Jane Evelyn Atwood won the 1997 Leica Oskar Barnack Award for her provocative, long-term project about prisons for women and female inmates. The award presentation took place during the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles, and came with prize money amounting to 10,000 German marks. This support contributed significantly to enabling the photographer to continue with the series and publish the work a few years later.

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Winner 1996: Larry Towell

Winner 1996: Larry Towell

They emerged from the Baptist movement and follow strict rituals, living pretty much cut off from the rest of society. In the early nineties, thousands of Mennonites lived in Mexico; however, the tough challenges of the economy there obliged many of the men to head back to the USA and Canada as seasonal workers. That was where Larry Towell met them.

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Winner 1995: Gianni Berengo Gardin

Winner 1995: Gianni Berengo Gardin

With his series dedicated to the daily lives of Roma families in Florence, the Italian photographer was able to convince the jury and win the 1995 Leica Oskar Barnack Award. Gianni Berengo Gardin was presented with the award at the antique theatre of Arles, during the 15th LOBA award ceremony. For the first time, the LOBA ceremony took place within the context of the Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles, France, on the evening of July 9th.

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Winner 1993: Eugene Richards

Winner 1993: Eugene Richards

As it develops irrigation projects in an attempt to green the edges of the desert, the Nigerian government is managing to dry out the last of the country’s wetlands. U.S. American photographer Eugene Richards and environmental author Fred Pearce travelled together, for the magazine Audubon, to an oasis that seems doomed to die.

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Winner 1992: Sebastião Salgado

Winner 1992: Sebastião Salgado

Nearly thirty years ago, the desert in Kuwait was burning: in February 1991, during the Second Gulf War, troops belonging to the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, set the Kuwaiti oil fields on fire, before making their retreat. Sebastião Salgado travelled to the disaster area and photographed the ghostly inferno. The following year, the pictures – first published in the New York Times Magazine – earned the Brazilian photographer his second Leica Oskar Barnack Award.

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Winner 1991: Barry Lewis

Winner 1991: Barry Lewis

Polluted by two industrial complexes, the town has long had the reputation of being the dirtiest in Europe. When the British photographer documented the small Romanian town of Copșa Mică, during a number of visits, he not only captured pictures of the contamination of the region, but also revealed a country in a state of shock, caught between dictatorship and political upheaval. Lewis’s work received international attention at the time.

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Winner 1990: Raphaël Gaillarde

Winner 1990: Raphaël Gaillarde

For the tenth edition of the Leica Oskar Barnack Awards in 1990, the jury selected an unusual series dedicated to a project being carried out in the Amazon rainforest. At lofty heights, the French photographer Raphaël Gaillarde documented an extraordinary research operation taking place in the treetops.

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Winner 1989: Charles Mason

Winner 1989: Charles Mason

The rescue of three grey whales, in October, 1988, was a worldwide media sensation. Charles Mason spent eleven days close to the event, documenting the efforts being made to free the whales from the ice. His photographs, taken under extremely tough conditions, were published around the world and earned him the 1989 Leica Oskar Barnack Award.

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Winner 1988: Christopher Steele-Perkins

Winner 1988: Christopher Steele-Perkins

20 years after the biggest scandal of the pharmaceutical industry was uncovered, Christopher Steele-Perkins photographed some of the people who have to live with the consequences of that medical catastrophe. His series earned him the 1988 Leica Oskar Barnack Award.

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Winner 1987: Jeff Share

Winner 1987: Jeff Share

For his committed reportage on the Peace March that crossed the USA for close to nine months in 1986, the US American photojournalist Jeff Share became the eighth winner in the history of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award. He accompanied the march, up close and personal, for months. He was able to document the activists as they walked, their moods, and the conditions around them.

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Winner 1986: David C. Turnley

Winner 1986: David C. Turnley

He considers himself a humanist behind the camera: for twelve years, between 1985 and 1997, David C. Turnley captured life in South Africa, during and after Apartheid. His haunting images sent out an appeal around the world.

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Winner 1985: Sebastião Salgado

Winner 1985: Sebastião Salgado

His socio-documentary images of famine in Ethiopia had a great impact on the awareness of industrialised nations. They are both art and explanation at the same time. Sebastião Salgado was honoured with the LOBA in 1985 for this emotional and stirring series.

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Winner 1984: Stormi Greener

Winner 1984: Stormi Greener

This award-winning series has only one protagonist: the 106-year-old Hattie Vaughn. With sensitive photographs, Stormi Greener – who was 37 at the time – captured the daily life of the centenarian at the old people’s home where she lived. The photojournalist’s black and white series convinced the Leica Oskar Barnack Award jury and, in 1984, Greener became the 5th recipient of the award.

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Winner 1983: Neil McGahee

Winner 1983: Neil McGahee

The American photographer’s winning series tells the story of two elderly farmers, struggling to preserve their way of life, in the middle of the State of Minnesota. In 1983 Neil McGahee’s touching photo series was honoured with the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, which was being granted for the fourth time.

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Winner 1982: Wendy Watriss

Winner 1982: Wendy Watriss

The photographer’s unflinching black and white pictures revealed the ruthless and devastating consequences to U.S. veterans, following the weaponised use of the herbicide called Agent Orange, during the Vietnam War. With her empathic portraits of participants in the war and their families, Wendy Watriss impressed the jury of the World Press Photo Awards at the time, and she was also the recipient, in 1982, of the third Leica Oskar Barnack Award.

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Winner 1981: Björn H. Larsson Ask

Winner 1981: Björn H. Larsson Ask

The skin transplant operation lasted for three full days, after the eight-year-old Jessica fell victim to a fire in her apartment block. The Swedish photographer Björn H. Larsson Ask captured the operation and healing process with a moving intensity. In 1981, the series earned him the Leica Oskar Barnack Award.

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Winner 1980: Floris Bergkamp

Winner 1980: Floris Bergkamp

In 1980, the Leica Oskar Barnack Award was presented for the first time, as a special award within the framework of the international World Press Photo competition in Amsterdam. The jury decided on the breathtaking black and white motifs that Dutch photographer Floris Bergkamp captured, under life-threatening conditions, during a Greenpeace intervention.

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