Ramy Salameh offers this event snapshot from the 39th LOBA awards in Berlin:
The Leica Oskar Barnack Awards 2019 (LOBA), now in its 39th year, continues to inspire generations of photographers and is part of a series of experiential events and workshops, developed by the world-renowned camera manufacturer, to engage new audiences.
There are some photographs that transcend age and epoch; a momentary blink of the shutter produces an image which continues to reverberate and inspire viewers to this day.
Think in terms of the iconic ‘Kiss’ between a US sailor and nurse on V-J Day in Time Square, New York (1945, Alfred Eisenstaedt) or Thomas Hoepker’s 1966 photograph of Mohammad Ali glaring into the lens with fist filling the frame, or the heart-rending moment ‘Napalm Girl’ formed the central figure of a photo depicting children fleeing from a Napalm bomb during the Vietnam War (AP photographer Nick Ut, June 8, 1972).
One thing all these images have in common is that they were taken with a Leica camera, a brand whose history stretches back over 100 years.
The LOBAs took place in Berlin, a city which this year celebrates the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a momentous event much chronicled through photojournalism.
This year’s LOBA ceremony took place at St Elisabeth’s Church, a spectacular venue in the heart of Berlin spreading events across 315sqm, with a sister venue next door at Villa Elisabeth, both sitting within the verdant Church park in the district of Mitte.
A huge digital screen, fine acoustics and a natural stage recessed below the building’s cupola, provided the canvas from which Leica showcased the work of the 12 finalists to several hundred invited guests.
A drinks reception followed at Villa Elisabeth, a glamorous and historic venue in its own right.
Out of the 12 finalists, sourced from over 2,300 entrants in 99 countries, the overall winner was Mustafah Abdulaziz, with a series of images centred around ‘Water’ as a universal theme, which took the photographer on an 8-year worldwide journey. Nanna Heitmann took home the Newcomer Award 2019 for her series titled ‘Hiding from Baba Yaga’.
Jason Heward, Leica UK Managing Director, says that Leica has now opened up the possibility of curated corporate incentives within its Akademie.
Quintessentially.com, a lifestyle luxury concierge company with HNWI as members, recently ran an incentive for their workforce in the UK. They invited Leica Akademie Ambassador Robert Sinha to teach and experience first-hand the craftsmanship and technology of Leica cameras, before participants were sent to put this education into practice on the streets of London.