The Outstanding Finalists of Leica’s 2022 Oskar Barnack Photo Awards

Photo by Lynsey Addario

Leica has announced the finalists of the 42nd-annual Oskar Barnack Awards. The competition is one of the world’s most prestigious and the winner will receive $40,000 in cash along with $10,000 of Leica equipment.

The Leica Oskar Barnack Awards (LOBA) jury determined the 2022 shortlist from proposals submitted by about 60 top-ranking international photography experts from 34 countries.

For the first time this year, the Leica Oskar Barnack Award Newcomer — awarded to a photographer under the age of 30 — has also been selected in collaboration with proposals submitted by international institutions and universities from 15 countries.

The winners of the Main and Newcomer categories as well as the Leica Hall of Fame Award will be selected from the group and announced on October 20 and all LOBA finalists will be visible in an exhibition at the Ernst Leitz Museum in Wetzlar, Germany. After the exhibition, the LOBA 2022 presentation will be shown at other Leica Galleries and at photo festivals around the world.

As mentioned, LOBA is one of the most highly endowed and prestigious awards in the field of photography and the winner of the competition receives $40,000 and Leica camera equipment valued at $10,000; the winner of the Newcomer Award receives $10,000 and a Leica Q2.

Below is an overview of all LOBA 2022 shortlisted series in the Main and Newcomer categories, in alphabetical order:

Lynsey Addario: Women on the Frontline of Climate Change

The American photojournalist (born 1973) presents four perspectives on the consequences of climate change: the women firefighters in Northern California; indigenous women in the Brazilian Amazon fighting slash-and-burn practices and land appropriation; women from flooded areas in Southern Sudan; and women in the drought-plagued regions of Ethiopia. This visually stunning collection shows how climate change threatens and destroys every facet of human life in Africa, North America, or South America.

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
Madalyn Schiffel, 26 takes a break during a long day fighting fires that burned overnight near West Point Station in California, September 4, 2021. Firefighters who have worked with CAL FIRE since the 1970s say that seasons are becoming longer because of drought stress and critical levels in forest fuel curing.
2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
Men use buckets to extract water that flowed over a dike following a night of rainfall in Paliau village in Jonglei State, South Sudan. Across vast stretches of this remote region, thousands of people are crammed onto patches of high ground bound by stacks of sandbags.
2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
Ethiopian men pull water from a well in the Bulale, near the Somali border, Ethiopia, May 2021. The 2021 rains were disappointing in Ethiopia, which has been stuck in a devastating drought for several years. On hearing rumors of rain near the Somali border, these camel herders walked 12 days to search, unsuccessfully, for pasture there–then 12 days back to draw water for their animals from this well near their home. Civil war is a big reason that some 13 million Ethiopians–more than a tenth of the population–face serious food insecurity. Climate change plays a role in East Africa’s food security crisis.

Irene Barlian: Land of the Sea

As the largest island nation on the planet, Indonesia is acutely affected by ongoing climate change. It threatens the livelihoods of millions of people; their displacement has long become a reality. Jakarta’s capital is known to be the most rapidly sinking city in the world. This is a wake-up call in the form of photography: in this series, the Indonesian photographer (born in 1989) documents a humanitarian crisis and the effects of flooding along the coastal regions.

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
A deserted house stands out in the middle of the Java Sea in Northern Pekalongan, Indonesia on June 3, 2021. Coastal floods have entirely submerged the resident’s settlement and cut road infrastructure in this village. Inhabitants are forced to leave as coastal erosion progress and seawater advances, but many stay due to the economic factor.

Indonesia is an archipelagic country that has more than 17. 000 islands with one of the longest coastlines in the world. Most of these islands are at risk of being inundated by rising sea levels. This is one of the most well-understood threats to climate change. According to Climate Central’s report entitled “Flooded Future: Global vulnerability to sea level rise worse than previously understood”, around 23 million coastal residents in Indonesia are at risk of annual sea flooding by 2050. Tragic alteration of the landscape has already happened in several regions like Jakarta, Demak, Pekalongan, and Gresik. Here, displacement due to flooding is not a mere future, it’s momentarily befalling. Land of The Sea tells the story of how climate change has affected the north coast of Java from the perspective of the local community.

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
Pasijah, 52, and her family are the only resident who still lives in Bedono village, Demak, Indonesia. The village has already been engulfed by sea water and all of its residents have moved two decades ago. They are persisting to live in the middle of the sea because of a special connection to the land and are dedicated to protecting the environment.
2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
A woman is drying clothes in a pool of seawater at Timbulsloko Village, Demak on June 11, 2021. Since the sea water inundated this village, inhabitants are forced to drastically change their way of life and limit the social life within the village. Due to the changing environment, many residents are now switching careers.

Alessandro Cinque: Peru, a Toxic State

Even today, Peruvian mining is still defined by neo-colonial structures. This black and white series, taken over the past five years or so by the Italian photojournalist (born 1988), documents the serious ramifications of unrestrained mining for the local populace. Peru has always been rich in mineral wealth; consequently, mining is an important economic asset for the country. Even so, the indigenous communities have remained impoverished and suffer greatly from the destruction of their vital resources.

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards

DOCKS Collective: The Flood in Western Germany

In July 2021, entire areas of Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia were devastated due to unusually heavy rainfall and the resulting floods. The German photographic collective DOCKS documented for months the suffering and destruction as well as the hard reconstruction. The group founded in 2018 includes Aliona Kardash (born 1990), Maximilian Mann (born 1992), Ingmar Bjorn Nolting (born 1995), Arne Piepke (born 1991) and Fabian Ritter (born 1992).

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
People on the balcony of a house in Ahrweiler, Germany on July 15, 2021. On the first day after the flood, the extent of the destruction was difficult to assess, so there was a catastrophic shortage of equipment and emergency personnel in the flooded area.
2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
A temporary collection point for trash has been set up in a field in Rheinbach, Germany on July 17, 2021. Many people line up to load their damaged furniture. In a matter of minutes, the trash created was as large as it would have been over a period of a year. Waste management companies work at piecework to remove the tens of thousands of tons of trash that have accumulated.
2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
Daniil Taranov (25) poses for a portrait after working for the THW in Altenahr, Germany on July 23, 2021. As a volunteer for the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief, he poses for a portrait. Gross-Gerau, a Hessen building contractor spent four days pumping out basements in Altenahr: “I have never seen an operation like it before.” People are often content to just listen and not do anything. But I really want to do something, that’s what I demand of myself.”

Valentin Goppel: Between the Years

The German photographer (born 2000) traces the effects of the pandemic on his generation as well as young adults living in the times of Corona. He, too, experienced the sudden breaking down of old habits and the feeling of insecurity, which seemed to determine every plan for the future. Corona appears to be like a catalyst for ongoing disorientation. Photography, however, presented a tool with which to better understand his thoughts and fears, and to find images for the sense of forlornness.

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards

Kiana Hayeri: Promises Written on the Ice, Left in the Sun

After the withdrawal of Western troops from Afghanistan in the summer of 2021, it became clear within days, that the Taliban would work to destroy everything that had been achieved concerning freedom of expression, women’s rights, and education, replacing them with renewed fear and insecurity. Born in Iran in 1988, the photographer grew up in Canada, and has been living in Afghanistan for more than seven years: time and again her work focuses in particular on the difficult living situations for women.

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
NALIJ | DAIKUNDI | AFGHANISTAN | 3/21/21 | On the first day of Spring, residents of Nalij village host a massive Now Rouz celebration that attracts thousands of people from neighboring villages and districts. This year, at the start of a new century (1400) the organizers estimated that between 8 to 10 thousand people attended the celebration. The celebration is a long tradition in Nalij village. No one can tell when it began. Some say it has been held over 100 year. Men and women arrive at Nalij village, Miramoor district in Daikundi in best attires with make-up.

During the Taliban rule, Now Rouz was banned and considered an “ancient pagan holiday centered on fire worship.” While historically, extremist organizations have planned disruptive activities and attacks targeting the large gatherings during the annual Now Rouz celebration, Nalij village located in a remote area of Daikundi province in Central Highland has remained untouched.

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
HOSSEIN KHEIL | KABUL | AFGHANISTAN | 9/12/19 |
2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
NILI | DAIKUNDI | AFGHANISTAN | 3/19/21 | One Friday afternoon, Nazanin (21) (creme scarf) and her friends, Salima (22) (floral scarf), Madina (19) (yellow scarf) and Zulaikha (20) (pink scarf), go out to Bandi Bargh (Electricity Dam) for picnic, a day before the arrival of the new year. All girls come from outlying districts in Daikundi. They are unable to travel home this Friday for the Now Rooz celebration. The start of a new century according to the Gregorian calendar is marked by this Now Rooz.

Nanna Heitmann: Protectors of Congo’s Peatland

In this series that examines active local climate protection with global repercussions, the German photographer (born 1994) introduces the inhabitants of Lokolama, a village in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their vast and unexploited peatlands are under threat from deforestation, resource extraction and other threats. The area is vital to global climate as it contains one of the most important tropical peatlands in the world. It also houses many billions of tonnes of carbon.

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
DRC. Equateur. Mpeka. October 2021. | PEATLANDS-CONGO | Ovide Emba, a scientist and biology student at the peatlands, bordering with Ruki River, close to the village Mpeka.
2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
DRC. Equateur. Mpeka. October 2021. Fresh caught fish in the village Mpeka, at Ruki River. The river’s rich fish stocks are due to its proximity to peatlands. Huge one is called Nina by the locals.
2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
DRC. Equateur. Mbandaka. October 2021. Ovide Emba, a scientist and biology student at his home in Mbandaka.

M’hammed Kilito: Before It’s Gone

Oases are an important ecological buffer against desertification, and represent places of biological diversity. In addition to abundant water and the right soil quality, date palms are a crucial element. Now more than ever, the balance of these factors is threatened by climate change and human intervention. The Moroccan photographer (born in 1981) provides insight, not only into this sensitive ecosystem, but also into the intangible heritage of the nomadic cultures of his home country.

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
When we are in the dry and arid desert, there is one thing we look for almost instinctively and that is the green color. This is water’s promise and life. This is the last grouping of palm trees in Tanseest, what used to be an oasis 15 km from the town of Assa.
2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
Youth emigration is one of the major problems facing the oases of southern Morocco. Many of the young people I met are considering crossing illegally to the Canary Islands due to global warming, water crises, lack of job opportunities, isolation and lack of primary resources. These factors have a negative effect on maintaining the oases. They need the youth to care for them.

Hicham immigrated to France in the middle of the year. After working hard and getting low-paid jobs, he made the decision to go back to Morocco. To his surprise, no one encouraged him. Especially his family, who he thought would support him in his decision, had a very negative reaction. Hicham today is happy in Morocco and is fulfilled as a young man. He lives in Agadir and works in an association that helps integrate street children.

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards

Leonard Pongo: Primordial Earth

Inspired by the country’s traditions, craftsmanship and mythologies, this series is dedicated to the landscapes of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Born in 1988, the Belgian photographer and visual artist’s approach is highly subjective. Going beyond the material limits of photography, themes of emergence, apocalypse and eternal recurrence become an allegorical narrative about the history of humanity and the planet, with the Congo at its center.

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
Two children, Gaston and Docteur, showing the way to a community project in Luntu village

Victoria Razo: Haitian Migration Crisis

This series focuses on the Dorjean-Desmornes family, whom the Mexican photographer (born 1994) accompanied for two and a half months during their migration to the USA. The family came originally from Haiti, and they are among the thousands of people who tried to reach the US via Mexico, in September 2021 alone. Their fate is representative of those who hope for a better life by migrating to the US, despite a journey representing years of hardship and great risk to their lives.

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
Hundreds of migrants crosses the river from Del Rio, Texas, to Ciudad Acuna, Coahuila, Mexico, to buy food and supplies before returning to the U.S. On September 20, 2021. In mid-September, approximately 15,000 migrants converged under a bridge at the U.S.-Mexico border, in Del Rio. Many of these migrants were Haitians, who fled Haiti to seek out Latin American countries years earlier.
2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
A United States Border Patrol agent on horseback tries to force Haitians migrants back across the river into Mexico, into Del Rio, Texas, United States. On September 19, 2021. In mid-September, approximately 15,000 migrants converged under a bridge at the U.S.-Mexico border, in Del Rio. Many were Haitians who had left Haiti for countries in Latin America years ago. After this images, U.S. After seeing these images, the Border Patrol placed the agents under administrative duty and temporarily stopped horse patrols at the river.
2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
The neighbors of Kely Dorjean, 35, and Rose Desmornes, 26, organized a baby shower in the neighborhood to celebrate the birth of their second child Broyenst Dorjean. They have been great neighbors and support to the Haitian family in Tijuana (Mexico) since the birth of their second child, Broyenst Dorjean. October 24, 2021

Felipe Romero Beltran: Bravo

In this photographic essay, the Colombian photographer, born in 1992 and now residing in Spain, places the border region between the US and northern Mexico at the center of his observations. The Rio Bravo is defined by its double status as both a river and the borderline. This project is still ongoing and began at the Mexican banks of Rio Bravo. Everything there seems to be in limbo; be it people, objects or even the architecture. The border is what defines everything.

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards

Rafael Vilela: Forest Ruins: Indigenous Way of Life and Environmental Crisis in the Americas’ Largest City

The largest city in the Americas stands on former forest lands, a large region along the Brazilian coast, once inhabited by the indigenous Guarani people. One of the few pockets remaining today in the Sao Paulo area consists of six villages with around 700 Guarani Mbya, and is the smallest demarcated indigenous land in Brazil. The Brazilian photographer (born 1989) dedicated himself to this indigenous community and questions the standard urban development model, in times of climate change.

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards

2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
The Guarani indigenous land in Jaragua, Sao Paulo, is the smallest delimited indigenous area in Brazil. The area is under constant attack by real estate speculation and urban sprawl. The 5 villages located around the Jaragua peak are fighting for the preservation of the Atlantic Forest belt in the region, recognized as a Green Belt by UNESCO. It is bordered by Bandeirantes highway which was named after the colonizers of Sao Paulo, who sought precious metals as well as indigenous slaves. The Anhanguera highway in Guarani also refers to “Devil’s Path”, a route that the colonizers used to reach the interior.
2022 Oskar Barnack Photography Awards
Manuela Vidal, a young Guarani-mbya indigenous from Itakupe village in Sao Paulo, walks through burnt-out area after a fire of unknown origin in Guarani land. June 24, 2020.

Image Credits: All photos individually credited and provided courtesy of the Leica Oskar Barnak Award 2022.

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