Leica Camera AG, this year is not only celebrating 100 years of Leica photography, but also the 60th birthday of its legendary Leica M rangefinder system, honoured Thomas Hoepker with the Leica Hall of Fame Award as a Leica M photographer who captured people and events of contemporary history and for his decisive contribution to the genre of reportage photography in the second half of the 20th century. In 1962, he started as a photographer traveling the world and since then has captured moments of international stature that still impress today. For instance the portrait of the boxer Muhammed Ali and the world-famous picture of the burning World Trade Center. With the group of young, seemingly carefree people in the foreground, it became a synonym for trauma overnight.
Swiss photographer René Burri is considered to be one of the best-known and most respected photographers of the 20th and 21st centuries, capturing evocative images of Berlin pre and post wall, as well as iconic portraits of Picasso, Giacometti, Le Corbusier and Che Guevara, to name a few. One could say that his images stand as valuable documents of contemporary history. On 26 June 2013, Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Leica Camera AG, presented a Leica M Monochrom to Burri in Zurich before an audience of numerous guests invited by Leica Camera AG and the Zurich University of the Arts.
At photokina 2012, Vietnamese photojournalist Nick Út was honoured with the Leica Hall of Fame Award, having shot one of the best-known war images of all time. “Nothing less than an everlasting icon of photography” is how his image from 8 June 1972 is described. Minutes after four napalm bombs were dropped on the town of Trag Bang, terrified Vietnamese victims, including screaming children and a completely naked, badly burned napalm victim – 9 year old Kim Phuc – were seen running towards the waiting reporters. Nick Út captured this moment with his Leica M2, thus reviving the anti-war movement and ultimately winning the Pulitzer Prize.
Klemm is a long-standing editorial photographer for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) where she’s a major force in reportage photography, documenting a range of political, economic and societal events. “In her portrait shots, she shows the respect she has for personalities and situations. This is just one of the reasons why she is an exemplary photographer and the photographs she takes with her Leica make her a deserving recipient of the ‘Leica Hall of Fame Award’,” noted Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, chair of the supervisory board of Leica Camera AG. Whether a student movement, the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall or the Kohl era and modern Germany - Barbara Klemm has managed to capture the essence of the moment forever on film.
For more than three decades, 62-year-old McCurry has been on the road as a documentary photographer at the world's trouble spots and has obtained many awards for his work. His documentary on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan won him international fame. He also covered, among other things, the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf War, and the Yugoslav Wars, and sent reports from Lebanon, Tibet, Yemen, and Cambodia. His most famous photograph is most likely the "Afghan girl" Sharbat Gula, a photograph that was taken in 1984 in a refugee camp. Since 1986, Steve McCurry has been a member of the renowned photographic agency Magnum.