The Leica Oskar Barnack Awards Finalists A look into each of the finalists work and experience

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’s a look behind the creative minds of those who made it to the finals including Scarlett Coten, Clementine Schneidermann, Esther Teichmann, Sadegh Souri, Giulio Piscitelli, Guillaume Herbaut, Max Pinckers, Stephane Lavoue, Fulvio Bugani, Vincent Delbrouck, William Daniels, and Juan Pablo Bellandi.

Sadegh Souri

Sadegh Souri
Sadegh Souri

What was your intention to enter the LOBA 2016? As there are many photo contests. Why the LOBA in particular?

Leica is very very famous in Iran and every photographer wishes to work with the brand. And for a couple of years a Persian photographer was one of the finalists in the LOBA competition and from then on it became my wish too and someday it worked.

Read Sadegh's answers

Is there any upcoming project you want to work on? Are there already concrete plans?

Yes, I have several projects. Among others a project about the smuggling of fuel. Fuel that is bought on the boarder of the Iran because it’s very cheap there and goes over Pakistan and Afghanistan to Swiss where it gets sold for a multiple of the purchase price. That is one series and another project is about a very interesting topic where women who are still under 18 years old merry older men about 50 and 60 years old to be their fourth wife.

Do you have any tips for future participants for next LOBA 2017?

They should taking pictures.

Which was you favorite photo series from your competitors? Why?

All works are pretty pretty good and you can notice that the Jury had chosen the very best and strongest. For this reason it is hard to say, but if I have to favor something I would choose Fulvio Bugani and also William Daniels.

CLÉMENTINE SCHNEIDERMANN

Clémentine Schneidermann
Clémentine Schneidermann

Is there any upcoming project you want to work on? Are there already concrete plans?

I recently started a PhD at the University of South Wales, and I would like to continue working on the same body of work. I am meeting different groups of young people with whom I will collaborate on new projects in the South Wales Valleys.

Read Clementine's answers

What was your intention to enter the LOBA 2016? As there are many photo contests. Why the LOBA in particular?

Some of the previous winners of the LOBA are real inspirations for me (Jane Evelyn Atwood, Claudine Doury, Mickael Subotzky, Jens Olof Lasthein…) and became very important reference in the photography world. I wanted to see if my work could fit into this tradition and ethics of documentary photography.

 

What was your favorite photo series from your competitors? Why?

Belgian photographers Max Pinckers and Vincent Delbrouk have a fascinating approach to documentary photography. Both playful and experimental and yet there is an incredible control of the medium. And the images are beautiful.

Giulio Piscitelli

Giulio Piscitelli
Giulio Piscitelli

What was your favorite photo series from your competitors? Why?

My favorite is the series of Fulvio Bugani, probably because like him I really love the way to photograph of Alex Web and this particular way to use the light, the shadows and the color. I also love the work of William Daniels and his deeply approach to document the crisis in Central Africa Rep.

Read Giulio's answers

What was your intention to enter the LOBA 2016? As there are many photo contests. Why the LOBA in particular?

Usually I don’t participate to many contests, usually I try to take part only to the contests that are free to enter, prestigious and that will give the real possibility to the photographer to have a real visibility. I think that the important awards in photography are not so much and LOBA is one of the few that is very important; in my opinion the many contests are born also due the difficult situation in which photography is.

Is there any upcoming project you want to work on? Are there already concrete plans?

I will continue to expand my long term project on immigration to the Middle east, because my intention is to create a direct link between the work about immigration and the reports that I have done in Syria during the ongoing war. And of course I will continue with my daily coverage of the events as photojournalist. I have also an interest in Afghanistan, but I didn’t planned yet

Do you have any tips for future participants for next LOBA 2017?

My suggestion, probably is to submit a non conventional point of view on a topic, in my point of view is important that the images should reflect a personal approach to the subject, an approach immediately attributable to the photographer.

 

Juan Pablo Bellandi

Juan Pablo Bellandi
Juan Pablo Bellandi

What was your intention to enter the LOBA 2016? As there are many photo contests. Why the LOBA in particular?

The main idea is to show the current situation in which we Venezuelans live, as even if international media document and are aware of the severity of the situation in Venezuela only Venezuelans face day-to-day situations that other places overcame in last decades. LOBA Is one of the most prestigious and important photo contest of the world. I have chosen to participate with you due to the broad international impact of your contest and I feel that  this kind of exposure was fundamental for me to pick the LOBA.

Read Juan Pablo's answers

What was your favorite photo series from your competitors? Why?

My favorite work was the North East Kingdom, when I saw the images of that place, it immediately called my attention. Lavoue documented the situation  in an incredible way, there is something dark, something beautiful, there is cold and warm. It is one of that essays that makes you think, I would like to know more and more about what is happening there.

Is there any upcoming project you want to work on? Are there already concrete plans?

There are too many plans I want to do with photography of course. I’m going to continue working with The Special Forces chasing the crime and with the Venezuelan situation.

Stéphane Lavoué

Stephane Lavoue
Stephane Lavoue

Do you have any tips for future participants for next LOBA 2017?

They need to link one picture to another, to create their own atmosphere. They should work on a series, not in individual pictures while being themselves.

Read Stephane answers

What was your intention to enter the LOBA 2016? As there are many photo contests. Why the LOBA in particular?

Before being a photographer, I used to be an engineer working in the timber industry in the Amazon. With my first salary, I bought by dream camera, the Leica M6. I started taking pictures as an engineer with this camera, and little by little, I drifted away from engineering and started being a photographer. Leica was always part of this journey so I have always been connected to the brand and always known the award.

Is there any upcoming project you want to work on? Are there already concrete plans?

Yes, I’m working on a book to publish a story about North East Kingdom in Vermont. After 15 years living in Paris, I moved West to the French coast of Brittany, it’s another “kingdom”, where people are living in small villages by themselves, self sustained, fishing, very interesting.

What was your favorite photo series from your competitors? Why?

I really liked William Daniels pictures from Africa, one of the strongest themes and series I saw.

Fulvio Bugani

Fulvio Bugani
Fulvio Bugani

 

Is there any upcoming project you want to work on? Are there already concrete plans?

I’m still working on Cuba, because it’s a long term project. Also, I think Cuba needs this, because people might just think of Cuba and think of the sea and the beaches, or the poverty and sadness. But I think it’s much more complex, and I try to go under the surface. When we speak about Cuba, we have to keep in mind the geopolitical situation. In addition, I’m following a story about an Italian family which decided to live in a different way.

Read Fulvio's answers

What was your intention to enter the LOBA 2016? As there are many photo contests. Why the LOBA in particular?

The LOBA is one of the most important contests in the world. I’m a photographer, and I like photography, trying to express myself. And in my opinion, this contest is the best, because it’s not just about photojournalism, but also gives the chance to express oneself. So it gave me the opportunity to show my point of view about Cuba and the entire project about Cuba.

Do you have any tips for future participants for next LOBA 2017?

I can say that photographers have to deeply understand the contest, in terms of submitting the right set of images or series.

What was your favorite photo series from your competitors? Why?

All of them are great in my opinion, but my favorite is the work is the work of Stephane Lavoue.

SCARLETT COTEN

Scarlett Coten
Scarlett Coten

Do you have any tips for future participants for next LOBA 2017?

I think you have to be advanced in your projects. You have to be sure about your subject, about the story, about the message you want to communicate. It’s hard to communicate the entire idea in just 12 images.

Read Scarlett's answers

What was your intention to enter the LOBA 2016? As there are many photo contests. Why the LOBA in particular?

Because I think the LOBA is a historical and prestigious competition. All my life I’ve dreamt about this. I think it’s a real recognition for a photographer, specially in Europe.

Is there any upcoming project you want to work on? Are there already concrete plans?

I just finished my current series which lasted four years of work in seven countries. I feel I’m facing a blank page, ready for the next project. I feel I want to work in America for a period of time.

 

MAX PINCKERS

Max Pinckers
Max Pinckers

What was your intention to enter the LOBA 2016? As there are many photo contests. Why the LOBA in particular?

I think one of the big attractions of this award, is that if you look at the list of previous winners, it’s some of the photographers I admire the most. In addition, it gives a lot of exposure for its history.

Read Max's answers

Is there any upcoming project you want to work on? Are there already concrete plans?

I’m working on two projects. One takes place in the USA and lasts for 6 months with the residency at the International Studio Curatorial Program. The second one is in Kenya with the veterans who fought against the British Imperialists in the 1950’s.

Do you have any tips for future participants for next LOBA 2017?

You really have to think about the selection of the images. Try to say as much as you can in that limited amount of images, so you can at least introduce the theme.

What was your favorite photo series from your competitors? Why?

I really liked William Daniels’ work with the image of the guy standing in the water. It’s a very beautiful characteristic. I think it also has relation with the work I’m doing with the veterans.

VINCENT Delbrouck

Vincent Delbrouck
Vincent Delbrouck

Is there any upcoming project you want to work on? Are there already concrete plans?

I’m working on a project on Cuba. I started a project in 2014 and will probably be finished by 2017. It’s not about making Cuba seem ‘exotic’, it’s more about understanding and immersing yourself into the culture and daily life.

Read Vincent's answers

What was your intention to enter the LOBA 2016? As there are many photo contests. Why the LOBA in particular?

I had contact with the Leica team in France and they suggested I should apply. I’m not very attracted to contests or competitions, but this appealed to me and it is relevant, since it challenges you to follow specific guidelines and themes.

What was your favorite photo series from your competitors? Why?

I really like the work of Max Pinckers.

Esther TEICHMANN

Esther Teichmann
Esther Teichmann

What was your favorite photo series from your competitors? Why?

They are so varied. I was looking at the slideshow of the new Venezuelan photographer, these images were quite compelling.

Read Esther's answers

What was your intention to enter the LOBA 2016? As there are many photo contests. Why the LOBA in particular?

I think it was particularly when a friend of mine who forwarded me the link and saw the work of the previous winner. This got me excited to participate.

Is there any upcoming project you want to work on? Are there already concrete plans?

My work isn’t really specific; I think it continually evolves. I suppose underpinning all of the work is a relationship to storytelling and a relationship between autobiography and fiction. At the moment I’m jsut shipping out a new show for Cleveland (on January 2017). And I’m also working on two books with Stanley Barker, one will be a collection of essays on photography about loss and desire and a monograph of visual work.

Do you have any tips for future participants for next LOBA 2017?

I’ve taught for many years and fundamentally, I think it’s staying excited about your work. As long as you keep on working and if it scares you, surprises you or inspires you, then you’re on the right track.

GUILLAUME HERBAUT

Guillaume Herbaut
Guillaume Herbaut

We see your series here, ‘Ukraine: Maidan to Donbass“’, showing the conflict taking place right now in Ukraine, but are there future projects that you are already working on, and will this project go on as the conflict continues?

I will continue this work. For me, it’s not over. As long as there will be a war, I will continue documenting the conflict in Ukraine. I also have other projects; I have many projects, but I can’t talk about them right now.

Read Guillaume's answers

What was your intention when entering the Leica Oskar Barnack Award this year? There are many photo contests around the world, why the Leica Oskar Barnack Award in particular?

For me, Oskar Barnack is the symbol of photography with a focus on people. This comes from Leica’s philosophy and from all the photographers who have been able to have a Leica in their hands. To me, this is the award for humanist photography, and it was important for me to take part in it.

 

I don’t know if you had the chance to see the works of the other finalists, but if yes, do you have a favorite series?

It’s very difficult because for me. For example, I like the series about the school in Iran. It’s a beautiful reportage; the topic is very interesting, I learned a lot. But I can also speak greatly about Stéphane Lavoué, William Daniels, etc.

WILLIAM DANIELS

William Daniels
William Daniels

What was your intention to enter the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2016? As there are many photo contests. Why this competition in particular?

The LOBA is a very famous and historical award that gives huge visibility. I admire the work of many previous winners. There are very few awards that give such visibility and recognition. Moreover I should admit the amount given to the winner is important. Such grants are ways to fund our personal work in places like in CAR where it is difficult to get support. One of the main problem that a photographer faces today is to fund his or her work.

Read William's answers

Is there any upcoming project you want to work on? Are there already concrete plans?

I am currently working on an assignment for National Geographic Magazine on access to health. In the last 4 months it has taken me to DRC, Uganda and Pakistan where I am now. I have some new personal projects in mind but they haven’t begun yet.

Do you have any tips for future participants is next LOBA 2017?

I wish I had some for myself!

What was your favorite photo series from your competitors? Why?

I like Guillaume Herbaut’s work on Ukraine. Not only is it a very strong and coherent series from an artistic point of view, it also makes sense and talks about an important issue. It is also very difficult to photograph and it requires a strong and long term involvement in dangerous areas. I also like Max Pinckers work.

To know more about the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, please visit the official website.

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