Allendale, NJ—Leica Camera honored photographers Terje Abusdal and Sergey Melnitchenko with the Leica Oskar Barnack Award (LOBA) and Leica Oskar Barnack Award Newcomer, respectively.
The awards were bestowed before an audience of approximately 300 guests in Berlin’s Saint Elisabeth church at an exclusive reception on September 13. The winners were chosen by an international jury of experts from more than 2,700 portfolios of photographs. This year, the international award was presented for the thirty-seventh time. The formal gala event was hosted by Till Brönner, acclaimed jazz trumpeter and accomplished Leica photographer.
“The legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson once said: ‘Photography is putting one’s head, one’s eye and one’s heart on the same axis.’ With their work, the winners and the 10 finalists have proved that they possess this talent. By remaining detached and simultaneously getting close to their subjects, they capture people and places that would possibly otherwise remain hidden to us forever,” said Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, director general of Leica Galerien International and a permanent member of the jury.
The 2017 main award went to Norwegian photographer Terje Abusdal for his series titled Slash & Burn. Blurring the lines between fact and fiction, Abusdal’s images create a mystical, expressive portrait of the Forest Finns. The Norwegian ethnic minority group leads a life in close touch with nature.
As the winner of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, Abusdal was presented with a cash prize of $30,000 as well as the Leica M camera and a lens. The equipment is valued at an additional $12,000.
In addition, Ukrainian photographer Sergey Melnitchenko was honored with the Newcomer Award for up-and-coming professional photographers aged 25 or younger. Melnitchenko was recognized for his portfolio titled Behind the Scenes. The winning portfolio is a series of images captured behind the scenes in a Chinese nightclub.
The photographs tell the stories of everyday life for dancers. They expose all the rough edges of show business, including bruised legs and scars, feet raw from dancing and laddered stockings in the light of makeup mirrors. For his award-winning portfolio, Melnitchenko was presented with a cash prize of approximately $12,000. He also received a Leica rangefinder camera and lens.
Additional Leica Oskar Barnack Recognitions
The 10 other finalists also attended the gala and were given the opportunity to present their portfolios to the audience. Each of these finalists garnered a cash prize of $3,000 for their works.
Furthermore, the LOBA Catalogue 2017 has been published. It presents the winners and 10 finalists in detail with interviews as well as a comprehensive gallery of their images.
Additionally, the work of the two winners will be exhibited in the Grand Palais at Paris Photo. The international fair for art photography will run from November 9–12. Following this, the winning portfolios of the LOBA and the portfolios of the 10 other finalists will travel to the Photolux Festival in Lucca, Italy. There they can be seen from November 18 to December 10. Additional exhibitions of these photographs will follow at Leica Galleries. leica-oskar-barnack-award.com