For a long time, the LOBA, established since 1980, is one of the most renowned international photography awards. The humanistic approach of convincingly capturing the relationship between man and the environment in a series has characterised LOBA since its first call for entries in 1979 in honour of Oskar Barnack's 100th birthday. With his invention of the Ur-Leica, Barnack had a decisive influence on the history of photography.
Over the last forty years, Leica has honoured many famous photographers with the LOBA, and supported many talents. To mark the anniversary, Leica Camera AG has further enhanced the reputation of LOBA by introducing a new selection procedure. In an intensive preliminary phase, 65 international photography experts from 30 countries submitted proposals as nominators, from which the jury selected Luca Locatelli as the winner in the main category. He will receive this year's increased award money of 40,000 euros and a Leica camera equipment worth 10,000 euros. The Newcomer Award in the category for photographers under 30 years goes to Gonçalo Fonseca, who in addition to a Leica Q worth around 5,000 euros receives a photo assignment and a two-week tutoring at the Leica Camera AG headquarters.
Leica Oskar Barnack Award Winner 2020
"My aim through this project is to present the viewer with a debate regarding our concept of growth and our relationship with nature and technology."
The Italian photographer’s long-term project visualises research into new ways for our future survival on the planet, and how to deal with the enormous environmental problems we face. With his motifs, Locatelli questions the reigning idea of permanent economic growth and presents a selection of motifs from his series, on which he has already been working for seven years, which is primarily dedicated to the energy turnaround and the future of food production. Locatelli took pictures in shut-down nuclear power plants, port facilities, at a North Sea wind park, and at a brown coal mine in Germany. He visited a wind turbine factory, one of Denmark’s largest waste-to-energy power plants, a geothermal power plant and a greenhouse in Iceland. He visited other enormous greenhouses, an algae park in the Netherlands, an insect farm in Great Britain, and documented the world’s largest aircraft storage facility in Arizona.
Luca Locatelli was born in Italy in 1971. He worked as a software developer for over ten years, before starting a career in documentary photography, in 2006. He has been represented by international agencies, such as the Institute for Artist Management, since 2016; and has been a National Geographic photographer, since 2015. Locatelli develops his stories in collaboration with journalists, environmental activists and scientists.
Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award Winner 2020
"I take a very dedicated approach to my work and to the people I photograph. I have kept in touch with almost everyone who took the brave step of sharing their lives with me, here in Lisbon."
The Portuguese photographer’s series deals with the dramatic housing situation currently affecting Lisbon and, based on individual stories, reveals the consequences of advancing gentrification.
The “New Lisbon” series is not yet complete. Fonseca aims to continue following the processes of change and displacement taking place in his city. His pictures are much more than purely documentary; the photographer’s personal involvement brings them to life: “I feel it is my duty to be there for them, when the photo shooting ends. This creates its own sets of challenges but, in my opinion, the key to great images is often great connections.”
Gonçalo Fonseca was born in Lisbon in 1993. After studying Journalism at the Catholic University of Lisbon (2011 to 2014), he decided to focus fully on photography. He completed post-graduate studies in Photojournalism at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He has been reporting from Spain, Portugal, China and India, for numerous international magazines, since 2017. He has also received a number of awards. In 2016 and 2019 he was one of the winners at World Press Photo. His subjects are mainly human rights, health and stories about housing.
Ernst Leitz Museum
On the occasion of the 40 year jubilee of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, Leica is presenting a comprehensive retrospective of all LOBA winners, at the Ernst Leitz Museum. The comprehensive jubilee exhibition can be seen at the Ernst Leitz Museum, until the end of March, 2021.
Monday to Sunday from 10a.m. to 6p.m.
Further information can be found at: www.ernst-leitz-museum.en