Allendale, NJ—Two winners of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award were announced at a gala awards ceremony and exhibition opening in Berlin.
The winner of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2016 is Scarlett Coten. Coten entered an impressive series of images titled Mectoub. Additionally, the winner of the Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award is Clémentine Schneidermann. Their work was chosen from more than 3,200 entries from 108 countries.
In winning the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2016, the French photographer shines a revealing light on the supposedly archetypal machismo of men in the Arab world. Furthermore, her portraits draw the eye to the dichotomy between social conformity and personal desires.
“Scarlett Coten’s fascination for the various aspects of changing society in North Africa and the Middle East began in the days of the Arab Spring. Her images reflect a woman’s eye for composition. This enabled her to capture extremely intimate portraits of the men she portrayed with her camera,” announced the award jury.
“With Mectoub, a play on words combining the Arab ‘maktub’, that stands for the inevitable in the sense of ‘It is written …’, and the French ‘mec’ a friendly slang expression for macho, Coten manages to take a subtle look beneath the veneer of traditional male roles of the Arab world.”
The winner of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award received a cash prize of 25,000 euros ($27,300 U.S.) as well as Leica M-System equipment.
Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award
This year’s Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award went to photographer Clémentine Schneidermann. She submitted her series titled The Unbearable, the Sadness and the Rest. A year ago, the Parisian-born photographer moved to the town of Abertillery in South Wales. She had completed her studies in Newport. Then, in the course of a sojourn as photographer in-residence, began to document life in the region.
Although embedded in beautiful countryside, the region is burdened with immense economic and social problems. After the coal mines were closed, the communities of the Valleys of South Wales slid into a postindustrial crisis. Schneidermann’s project combines the genres of documentary, portrait as well as fashion photography in unusual ways. Schneidermann received a cash prize of 10,000 euros (approximately $11,000 U.S.) and also a Leica rangefinder camera.
“I would like to congratulate this year’s winners, Scarlett Coten and also Clémentine Schneidermann, in the name of the entire jury of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award. Both have impressively cast a humanistic eye on elements of modern society in which people take center stage,” commented Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, director general of Leica Galerien International. “With their exceptionally direct visual language, the two photographers highlight relevant social as well as socio-political issues of contemporary society.”
The portfolios of the competition’s winners and finalists were also published in a special issue of LFI magazine.
The Leica Oskar Barnack Award
The Leica Oskar Barnack Award is one of the longest established, international photographic competitions. Additionally, it was held this year for the 36th time. The challenge to photographers is to perceive and document the interaction between people and their environment in groundbreaking style. leica-oskar-barnack-award.com