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.

An aerial view of the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson-Arizona, USA. This is the largest aircraft storage and preservation facility in the world that handles nearly 3,300 aircraft. The arid climate of the region makes it possible to store aircraft and to prevent corrosion and weather damage, allowing them to preserve for years. The process to optimize the life cycle of such resource-intensive machines is a leading example of circular economy in the heavy industry sector. The so-called Boneyard remanufacturing and repurposing technology makes the most out of the planes that sit at the airfield. Precious parts are dismantled and reused in the Air Force and entire aircraft can be reassembled and put back into service. At the end of the life cycle, they can be scrapped for steel and aluminum recycling.

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.

The Control Room Greifswald nuclear power station. also known as Lubmin nuclear power station, was the largest nuclear power station in East Germany before closure shortly after the German reunification. The plants were of the VVER-440/V-230 type, which was the second generation of Soviet-designed plants. The plant is in Greifswald, in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. In late 1989, nuclear regulatory bodies of countries operating VVER plants found the need to fit many new safety systems, which were stated to have been necessary in almost all areas. All East German reactors were closed soon after reunification, with restarting conditional on compliance with the stricter West Germany safety standards. Convinced that upgrading to the new safety standards was not economically feasible, the new unified German government decided in early 1991 to decommission the four active units, close unit 5, which was under test at the time, and halt construction of the rest of the units

Luca Locatelli

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.

Clouds rising from geothermal wells in Hellisheidi Power Station in Iceland. Being one of the world’s most nature-oriented countries, Iceland gets approximately 87% of its hot water for households and city streets heating from geothermal energy. At 303 megawatts of energy and more than 100 wells, Hellisheidi is Iceland’s largest geothermal power station and the third in the world. It has been designed with a strong attention to the environment — green painted pipes minimise the visual impact on the landscape. A circular water system has been put into work to extract and pump back water underground. Energy production is the main responsible for the climate crisis, therefore finding a way to produce cleaner energy around the globe is one of the main challenges for the future. Geothermal is one of the most circular ways to produce energy while respecting the environment. It could be applicable in many countries that can rely on volcanic activity instead of burning coal or oil.

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.” 

This coal and mineral ore storage facility in the port of Hamburg is surrounded by wind turbines extending in the distance. These minerals were shipped for thousands of miles across oceans to arrive here, feeding coal plants and heavy industries throughout Germany. In the wake of environmental crisis, Germany is aiming to phasing out of coal energy production: by 2022 an estimated 12 coal plants will be shut down, making renewables the main source of power for the country. But at this moment Germany is still producing more than 30% of its energy needs by coal. Wind energy is accounting for about 20% of Germany production and it’s making visible the transition all around the nation.

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.

Gonçalo Fonseca

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:

Official Facebook page of Leica Camera Hong Kong: Leica Camera

Official Instagram page of Leica Camera Hong Kong: leicacamerahk

#LeicaCamera #LeicaCameraHK #LeicaHK

0 comments on “

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: