LOBA 2020: Leica Camera AG elevates the prestige of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award in honor of its 40th anniversary

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the respected Leica Oskar Barnack Award, Leica Camera AG further heightens the prestige of the award with a new nomination-based submission process.

In a shift away from the traditional application-based model, the Leica Oskar Barnack Award will consider finalists and ultimately select winners based on nominations from 70 world-renowned photographic experts from over 30 countries. With this nomination process, the honor of being chosen as a finalist is an esteemed accomplishment of its own, as they are recognized and hand-selected by some of the most respected figures impacting the world of photography.

Each nominator will elect three photographers based upon their personal evaluation and judgement of the photographer’s work. The only requirements for nominations for the Award are that the photographer’s work must be a documentary or conceptual work on the theme of the relationship between mankind and its environment. In addition to the three photographers nominated for the main Award, each jury member will nominate one photographer under 30 years old for the Newcomer Award.

“Documentary photography is at the core of Leica’s storied history and a form or photography that continues to be very close to our hearts,” shares Karin Rehn Kaufmann, Art Director & Chief Representative Leica Galleries International, and Head of the LOBA Jury. “It felt right that approaching the 40th anniversary of our Award honoring the original documentary photographer, we raise it to an even higher level of worldwide recognition and prestige with this new panel of nominators.”

The Leica Oskar Barnack Award was founded in the year 1979 as tribute to Oskar Barnack, who revolutionized photography in 1914 with the invention of the first compact and portable Leica camera. In 1980 Floris Bergkamp was awarded as the first photographer with the Leica Oskar Barnack Award. Past recipients of the award encompass illustrious names in photography including Sebastião Salgado (twice), Jan Grarup, Dominic Nahr (first Newcomer), Jane Evelyn Atwood, Eugene Richards and Chris Steele-Perkins.

In May, the jury will gather at the Leica Camera headquarters in Wetzlar to select the winner of the 2020 Leica Oskar Barnack Award. For the first time in the Award’s 40 year history, the winner will receive a prize of €40,000, in addition to a Leica camera worth €10,000. The winning series will also be shown as part of a touring exhibition at Leica Galleries around the world and at selected photo festivals.

Additionally, the winner of the Newcomer Award will receive a photography assignment and two weeks of tutoring at Leica Camera AG Headquarters in Wetzlar, as well as a Leica Q camera worth €5,000.

The ceremony to present both winners will be held in Wetzlar on September 24, 2020. In celebration of 40 years of recognizing talented photographers, a special exhibition will showcase photographs from the 2020 LOBA winner, as well as works from select previous winners at the Ernst Leitz Museum and Leica Gallery Wetzlar. The LOBA magazine, presenting the winners in detail with comprehensive portfolios and background information, will be published to accompany the exhibition.


The international panel of nominators is comprised of the following:

  • Stuart Alexander (United Kingdom), Editor-in-Chief at Delpire
  • Monica Allende (Spain), Curator
  • Alia Alyasi (UAE), from Louvre Abu Dhabi
  • Peggy Sue Amison (UAE), Artistic Director for East Wing Gallery, Dubai
  • Jose Luis Amores (Spain), Director of EFTI (Centro Internacional De Fotografía y Cine)
  • Regina Anzenberger (Austria), Director, Anzenberger Gallery, Vienna
  • Michael Benson (United Kingdom), Director of Prix Pictet and founder of Photo London
  • Thomas Borberg (Denmark), Chief Photo Editor at Politiken
  • Christian Boros (Germany), Agentur Boros, Distanz Verlag and Boros Foundation
  • Bruno Boudjelal (France), Photographer
  • Neil Burgess (United Kingdom), Editor, Curator, Publisher
  • Manila Camarini (Italy), Director of Photography La Repubblica
  • Krzysztof Candrowicz (Poland), Art Director, Curator
  • Claudio Carreras (Spain), Photo Editor
  • Marianne Catzaras (Tunisia), Photographer
  • Gintaras Česonis (Latvia), Curator at Kaunas Photography Gallery
  • Irina Chmyreva (Russia), Art Director, PhotoVisa International Photo Festival, Krasnodar
  • Claudio Composti (Italy), Gallerist and Curator
  • José Miguel Moreira de Sousa Nogueira (Portugal), Photo Editor at Câmara Municipal do Porto
  • Clara de Tezanos (Guatemala), Director and Co-Founder, Guatephoto and la Fototeca
  • Simindokht Dehghani (Iran), Director of Ag Galerie, Teheran
  • Benedetta Donato (Italy), Curator
  • Rune Eraker (Norway), Photographer and Curator
  • James Estrin (USA), Photo Editor at the New York Times
  • Behzad Farazollahi (Norway), Founder and Director at MELK
  • Xuan Feng (China), Founder and Group Editorial Director of HuaSheng Media
  • Joan Fontcuberta (Spain), Curator
  • Alice Gabriner (USA), Photo Editor
  • Alessia Glaviano (Italy), Photo editor at Vogue Italy
  • Walter Guadagnini (Italy), Professor at the University in Bologna and Director of Camera
  • Sunil Gupta (India), Artist, Writer, Activist and Curator
  • David Hagger (Australia), Curator
  • Nick Hannes (Belgium), Photography teacher
  • Magdalena Herrera (France), Director of Photography at GEO France
  • Caroline Hunter (United Kingdom), Picture Editor at The Guardian
  • Virágvölgyi István (Hungary), Curator at Robert Capa Center
  • I-Jong Juan (China), Photographer, Writer, Publisher, Photographic Professor
  • Rue Kothari (UAE), Director of Downtown Design
  • Matjaz Krivic (Slovenia), Photographer
  • Anna Lacoste (France), Curator
  • Eyal Landesman (Israel), Founder and Artistic Director of the Israeli Photography Festival
  • Oliver Laurent (USA), Director of Photography International Edition at Washington Post
  • Gwen Lee (Singapore), Co-founder of the Singapore International Photo Festival
  • Steven Lee (Malaysia), Director of the Kuala Lumpur Photography Awards
  • Bettina Leidl (Austria), Director of Kunst Haus Wien and Foto Wien Fotofestival
  • Mark Lubell (USA), Executive Director International Center of Photography, New York
  • Elisa Medde (Netherland), Photo editor at Foam magazine
  • Azu Nwagbogu (Nigeria), Director of African Artists' Foundation and Lagos Photo festival
  • Naoko Ohta (Japan), Founder of Tokyo Curiosity
  • Silvia Omedes (Spain), Curator and Photo Editor
  • Manuel Rivera Ortiz (Puerto Rico/USA), Photographer
  • Hercules Papaioannou (Greece), Director of Thessaloniki Museum of Photography
  • Søren Pagter (Denmark), Head of Photography Department, Danish School of Journalism
  • Andrei Polikanov (Russia), Director of Photography at Russian Reporter
  • Brett Rogers (United Kingdom), Curator, Director of the Photographers' Gallery, London
  • Moshe Rosenzveig (Australia), Founder and Director Head on Photo Festival
  • Gen Sadakane (Germany), Founder and Creative Director at EyeEm
  • Alan Schaller (United Kingdom), Photographer and Co-founder of SPI
  • Kazuko Sekji (Japan), Chief Curator of Tokyo Photographic museum
  • Laura Serani (France), Curator and Author
  • Johan Sjostrom (Sweden), Curator of Exhibitions, Gothenburg Museum of Art
  • Sujong Song (South Korea), Photography consultant
  • Enrico Stefanelli (Italy), Director of Photolux Festival
  • Anthony Suau (USA), Photographer
  • Olga Sviblova (Russia), Director of Multi Media Art Museum, Moscow
  • Gaia Tripoli (United Kingdom), London-based Photo Editor for New York Times Magazine
  • Nanda van den Berg (Netherland), Director of Huis Marseille
  • Benjamin Villegas (Colombia), Owner of Villegas Editores
  • Vineet Vohra (India), Street Photographer
  • Duan Yuting (China), Founder and Director Lianzhou Foto Festival, Lianzhou Museum of Photography

Press Release - Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2020

Date: 12/2019 Format: PDF (79.62 kB)
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Leica Camera AG is an internationally operating, premium-segment manufacturer of cameras and sport optics products. The legendary reputation of the Leica brand is founded on a long tradition of excellent quality. In combination with innovative technologies, all Leica products fulfil a common objective: better pictures, wherever perception and visualization matter. Leica Camera AG has its headquarters in Wetzlar, in the state of Hessen in Germany, and a second production site in Vila Nova de Famalicão, Portugal and operates its own worldwide network of regional organisations, Leica Retail Stores, Leica Galleries and Leica Akademies.