Awards & Competitions

Winners of 2018 Leica Oskar Barnack Awards Announced

September 6, 2018

By Conor Risch

Belgian photographer Max Pinckers has won the 2018 Leica Oskar Barnack Award for his series “Red Ink,” Leica announced today. Pinckers shot the series in 2017 in North Korea, on assignment for The New Yorker. Working under strict supervision from North Korean authorities, Pinckers chose to shoot the pictures using direct flash, emphasizing the idea that what he was allowed to shoot was carefully staged and superficial.

The Oskar Barnack Award is given annually to “professional photographers whose unerring powers of observation capture and express the relationship between man and the environment in the most graphic form.” Past winners include Martin Kollar, Evgenia Arbugaeva, Jan Grarup and Mikhael Subotzky.

Pinckers will receive a cash prize of 25,000 Euros and a Leica M camera and lens, and his work will be shown in an exhibition and published in a book, along with the work of ten finalists. Each of the finalists will each receive a cash prize of 2500 Euros.

The Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award, for photographers under the age of 25, was given to Russian photographer Mary Gelman for her personal project “Svetlana,” which depicts a Camphill Movement community in Russia for adults and children with disabilities. Gelman will receive 10,000 Euros and a Leica M camera and lens.

Jurors chose the winners from more than 2,500 entries from 110 countries. The jurors for the awards were Leica Galleries art director Karin Rehn-Kaufmann; ICP executive director Mark Lubell; agent and publisher Markus Hartmann; Paris Photo artistic director Christoph Wiesner; and photographer and 2017 Oskar Barnack Award winner Terje Abusdal.


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