An international jury awards the Leica Oskar Barnack Award to professional photographers whose unerring powers of observation capture and express the relationship between man and the environment in the most graphic form in a sequence of a minimum of 10 up to a maximum of 12 images. Here is the work of French photographer, Clémentine Schneidermann, the winner of the Leica Oscar Barnack Newcomer award.
Please describe your creative objectives behind “The unbearable, the sadness, and the rest”
When I moved to the Valleys in Wales last September, I was struck by the natural beauty of the landscape and yet the overall bleakness of the area. I wanted to photograph the region in a lighter way and also find new directions in my own photographic practice. By collaborating with a stylist, I wanted to ease the hardness of the representation of this place, and bring touches of humour, optimism and magic realism.
Technically speaking, what equipment did you use for this project? Any special processing or setups?
I have been using the same camera and lens for the past six years, which is a Mamiya 6 with a 75mm. I prefer working with a reduced equipment, which gives me more flexibility and also freedom. I work with natural light mainly and I shoot analogue, most of the time.
In a previous occasion, you were a Leica Oscar Barnack Award Newcomer finalist as well. How do you see your evolution as a photographer from back then to this moment?
I was a finalist last year with a work made about Elvis Presley fans in South Wales and the United States. I can see a strong relationship between the two works and I am happy if people can also see a logical progression. Back then, I was freshly graduated from my MA in Photography. This new work has been produced as I wasn’t a student any more which forced me to take more risks.
What were your expectations after submitting your work to the prestigious Leica Oscar Barnack Award?
I try not to think about the potential chances of winning when I submit to a contest, and especially to the Leica Oscar Barnack as I know that there are thousands of entries. I didn’t have any expectation of being selected for this award.
Moving forward, what other projects are you looking to work on after winning this award?
I would like to keep making work in South Wales as it is a place that I find very inspiring and interesting. Collaborating with a stylist has also opened new directions in my practice and I would like to reiterate this. I am very interested in the notions of magic realism and the construction of identity.