This year’s winners of the renowned international Leica Oskar Barnack Award (LOBA) photo competition, now in its 40th edition, have been chosen.
In the main category of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, it was the Italian photographer Luca Locatelli, whose series Future Studies convinced the five-person jury. He was nominated by Alice Gabriner, Photo Editor, USA.
The Leica Oskar Barnack Award in the Newcomer category, for photographers up to the age of 30, goes to the Portuguese photographer Gonçalo Fonseca, for his New Lisbon series. He was nominated by Silvia Omedes, Curator and Photo Editor, Spain.
Leica Oskar Barnack Award Winner 2020
Future Studies is a long-term project by the Italian photographer Luca Locatelli, in which he researches new ways for humanity to survive on planet Earth. With his series of 20 colour photos, he questions the existing concepts around permanent economic growth and, as a result, opens up an intense debate with regard to our relationship with nature and with technology.
Luca Locatelli: “One of the characteristic symptoms of the times we are living in is the growing feeling that we are losing the vision of a better future, of a promising, yet unknown, hypothetical tomorrow. During these tough times of Covid19, when the world seems to have stood still, we have been given a chance like never before. We can consider what our behaviour should look like in the future, where efforts should be made to re-establish a healthy relationship with nature and the planet.”
Luca Locatelli was born in Italy in 1971. He worked as a software developer for over ten years, after completing studies in Information Technology, before beginning to work as a documentary photographer in 2006. He has been represented by international agencies, such as the Institute for Artist Management, since 2016; and has been a photographer for National Geographic, since 2015. Within the framework of his work as a photographer and film maker, Locatelli produces stories, in collaboration with journalists, environmentalists, and scientists, to further conceptualise his research.
Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award Winner 2020
With 19 colour images, Fonseca’s New Lisbon series offers insight into the dramatic circumstances currently affecting the housing situation in Lisbon. Because of exploding property prices, many tenants have lost their homes. Making use of individual stories, the Portuguese photographer reveals the consequences of increasing gentrification.
Gonçalo Fonseca: “My New Lisbon series explores the issue of housing insecurity, and reveals the fears and anxiety that arise when you don’t have a stable roof over your head. In recent years, at least 10,000 tenant families have been put out on the streets by their landlords, and have no other alternative than to squat in abandoned apartments. This is their story.”
Gonçalo Fonseca was born in 1993. He received a B.A. in Journalism, followed by postgraduate studies of Photojournalism at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He was among the winners of the World Press Photo in 2016 and 2019. His subject matter, which he finds in Portugal and around the world, deals primarily with human rights, health, and stories about housing.
“On behalf of myself and the other jury members (Joel Meyerowitz, Art Director and Photographer; Pauline Benthede, Exhibitions Director for Fotografiska International; Malin Schulz, Art Director of ZEIT; and Klaus Kehrer, Publisher), I would like to congratulate the winners of this year’s Leica Oskar Barnack Awards. I was impressed by the high level of the quality of the submissions. Our sincere gratitude also goes to all our nominators from around the world,” says Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, Executive Vice President Leica Galleries International.
In addition to the prize money, which has been increased to 40,000 euros this year, Luca Locatelli also receives camera equipment valued at 10,000 euros. As winner of the Newcomer Award, Gonçalo Fonseca receives a photographic assignment, a two-week tutoring course at Leica Camera AG Headquarters in Wetzlar, and a Leica Q, valued at 5,000 euros.
Both LOBA 2020 winners received their awards on October 22 in Wetzlar, Germany, and be honoured with an exhibition at the Leica Gallery in Leitz Park. In parallel, a comprehensive presentation of 40 Years of Leica Oskar Barnack Awards will open at the Ernst Leitz Museum at the same location. The exhibitions are realised with the kind support of WhiteWall. The exhibition will be accompanied by the LOBA catalogue, which will include all the winners over the 40 years, with comprehensive photo series and background information.
Further information, as well as in-depth interviews with this year’s winners, can be found at: www.leica-oskar-barnack-award.com.
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