Oskar Barnack Award 2015 winners announced


This video shows the winners and finalists' portfolios for the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2015. Thousands of entries were received from all over the world. The video and awards were presented on July 8 during Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie photography festival held in Arles, France.

JH Engström won the Leica Oskar Barnack Award for his portfolio, "Tout Va Bien" and Wiktoria Wojciechowska won the Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award for her series "Short Flashes."

JH Engström is honored with the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2015 for his photographic project titled Tout Va Bien. Born in Sweden, JH Engström's prize includes a cash prize of 25,000 euros and a Leica M camera and lens. Tout Va Bien does not handle a concrete subject in the traditional sense. The Swedish photographer JH Engström intends his project to be seen much more as visual poetry – a photographic narrative with strong autobiographical elements. Despite this, it does not exclusively depict aspects of his own life. Tout Va Bien is a sequence of widely differing images. The winning series includes both portraits and landscapes, as well as bizarre snapshots like the photograph of the birth of his twins. The photographer also switches between exposures in black and white and colour. Engström plays with contrasts and leaves it to viewers to find their own ways of reading and interpreting each picture. The complete project comprises 90 images and will be published in book form by Aperture in July.

Oskar Barnack Award 2015 winner

JH Engström is honoured with the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2015 with his project titled „Tout Va Bien” and will receive a cash prize of 25,000 euros and a Leica M camera and lens.

„Tout Va Bien“ does not handle a concrete subject in the traditional sense. The Swedish photographer JH Engström intends his project to be seen much more as visual poetry – a photographic narrative with strong autobiographical elements. Despite this, it does not exclusively depict aspects of his own life. „Tout Va Bien“ is a sequence of widely differing images. The winning series includes both portraits and landscapes, as well as bizarre snapshots like the photograph of the birth of his twins. The photographer also switches between exposures in black and white and colour. Engström plays with contrasts and leaves it to viewers to find their own ways of reading and interpreting each picture.

JH Engström, born in 1969 in Karlstad, Sweden, spent the early part of his career as a photographer between Sweden and France. After working as an assistant to Mario Testino and Anders Petersen, he studied film and photography at the University of Gothenburg and graduated in 1997. Engström has already published a number of different books of photography – these include „Trying to Dance“ (2003), Haunts (2006), „CDG/JHE“ (2008), „From Back Home“ (with Anders Petersen, 2009), „La Résidence“ (2010) and „Sketch of Paris“ (Aperture, 2013) – and has won numerous international awards. The complete project „Tout Va Bien“ comprises 90 images and will be published in book form by Aperture in July.

Oskar Barnack Award 2015 newcomer winner

The Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award, first presented in 2009, has been won by Wiktoria Wojciechowska for her series „Short Flashes“. She receives a prize of 5,000 euros and a Leica M camera and lens.

In her winning series, the Polish photographer Wiktoria Wojciechowska focuses on fleeting moments of everyday life in China. Over a period of several months, she portrayed Chinese cyclists pedalling their damp ways through the incessant rain of the sprawling megacities of Beijing and Hangzhou. The project was shot as the streets were almost flooded in the typhoon season of 2013 and 2014. Alone, and without speaking a word of Chinese, the young photographer explored this new terrain without any means of communicating with the people around her. She identified with and felt the anonymity of the nameless cyclists and scooter riders who whizzed past her on the streets. This was the source of her idea for giving these people an identity – picking them out from the masses – and preserving them in captured instants. Her snapshot-like images tell the truth of genuine moments. Because, in contrast to posed and tightly controlled portraits, these spontaneous and unnoticed exposures show the reality and authenticity that exists between ingrained behavioural patterns.

Wiktoria Wojciechowska was born in 1991 in Lublin, Poland, and is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Her work has already been shown in various exhibitions and at festivals and has been published in magazines such as „ArchivoZine“, „Beijinger“, „ArtPhotoMag“, „Gente di Fotografia“, „GUP“, „L’Oeil de la Photographie“ and „Urbanautica“.

More information available at leica-oskar-barnack-award.com.

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  • Today, it seems that prizes are often given for photography which is
    no better than mediocre. Post-modernism is the disease which allowed this to happen.

    For the post-modern thinker, excellence is elitist, exclusive and limiting. Perhaps it says a lot about post-modernists that they only reward mediocrity: so jealous and awestruck of excellence that they cannot achieve, they scoff at it.

  • urfriendsez

    These photos are less than mediocre. I agree with the comment below.

  • Simon

    As usual I like the newcomer better than the overall winner. At least she had an idea and executed it.

    The winner though is to put it politely mediocre at best but really I’m thinking something far less polite. A victim of photographic pretentiousness he seems to think shoving a bunch of bland, ordinary pictures that required little to no effort together is somehow art or cool. I’m not saying there has to be a theme or consistent style but there’s not even any one picture in this set hat you’d call great or interesting and as a whole it’s just a complete mess.

    But he has the right-sounding Continental/Scandinavian name so maybe that has something to do with it.

    Who wants to see his newborn anyway? I sure as hell don’t! If he wants to breed I’m happy for him but not interested in the slightest. He should post it on his Facebook or Instagram for his friends and family instead (assuming they’re interested). Maybe if it was a baby born in the migrant camps at Calais or someone risking their life trying to steal passage to the UK under a truck I’d be half interested. Not fully, but half interested.

    But I really like the Newcomer winner’s shots.

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