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12 shortlisted for 2018 Leica Oskar Barnack Award

From the series Presence © Samuel Gratacap

Samuel Gratacap and Max Pinckers are among the 12 photographers picked out for the prestigious prize, which is announced on 10 October

The Leica Oskar Barnack Award is one of the most prestigious in the business and, with a top prize of €25,000 plus a Leica M-System (camera and lens), it’s a lucrative one too. This year, 12 photographers have been picked out for the shortlist – Samuel Gratacap (France), Daniel Chatard (Germany), Max Pinckers (Belgium), Ernesto Benavides (Peru), Vanja Bucan (Slovenia), Turi Calafato (Italy), Stephen Dock (France), Mary Gelman (Russia), Stéphane Lavoué (France), Elsa Stubbé (Belgium), Christian Werner (Germany), and Kechun Zhang (China).

Benavides has been nominated for Dredges, a series on illegal gold mining in his native Peru; Bucan’s Sequences of Truth and Deception looks at the ambivalent relationship between humans and nature. Calafato’s Amuninni ‘u mari [Let’s go to the sea] shows locals on the beach in Sicily; Chatard’s Niemandsland [No man’s land] documents the tense relationship between the mining industry and environmental activists in the Rhenish region.

Dock’s Architecture of Violence was shot in Ireland and records the reverberations of war; Gelman’s Svetlana looks at a community of mentally disabled people in Russia. Gratacap’s Presence records the lives of migrants around the Mediterranean, and was shot in Italy, Tunisia and Libya; Lavoué’s On the Edge of the World shows fishing through the eyes of those on the land – the women of the canneries and the labourers who make tonnes of ice for the freshly-caught fish.

From Niemandsland © Daniel Chatard

Pinckers’ Red Ink was shot in North Korea under strict state supervision, and investigates how much photography can reflect reality; Stubbé’s Les extraterrestres ont mangé mon jardin [The aliens have eaten my garden] shows a surreal take on nature. Werner’s Road to Ruin documents a journey through Syria after the re-taking of Aleppo; Zhang’s Between the Mountains and Water explores how people interact with nature.

“With every new year of the competition, it is remarkable to see how intensely and creatively the entrants fulfil the thematic requirements of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award,” says Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, art director and chief representative Leica Galleries International, who was on the jury this year. “We have consciously maintained the theme of ‘the relationship between people and their environment’ since the first request for entries to the LOBA competition in 1979. Today, this theme remains as valid as it was in the past – in fact, we could even say that it is now more important than ever before.”

The other members of the jury were Mark Lubell, executive director of the ICP – International Center of Photography, New York; Markus Hartmann, Hartmann Projects; Terje Abusdal, photographer and winner of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award last year; and Christian Wiesner, artistic director of Paris Photo. The winner of both the main award and the Leica Oskar Barnack Award Newcomer, which is open to a photographer under the age of 25, will be announced on 10 October.

The projects on the Leica Oskar Barnack Award shortlist will be shown from 10-31 October at the Neuen Schule für Fotografie Berlin from 10 – 31 October. www.leica-oskar-barnack-award.com

From the series Presence © Samuel Gratacap

From the series Presence © Samuel Gratacap

From the series Presence © Samuel Gratacap

From the series Presence © Samuel Gratacap

From Niemandsland © Daniel Chatard

From Niemandsland © Daniel Chatard

From Niemandsland © Daniel Chatard

From Niemandsland © Daniel Chatard

From Red Ink © Max Pinckers

From Red Ink © Max Pinckers

From Red Ink © Max Pinckers

From Red Ink © Max Pinckers

From Red Ink © Max Pinckers

From On the Edge of the World © Stéphane Lavoué

From On the Edge of the World © Stéphane Lavoué

From On the Edge of the World © Stéphane Lavoué

From On the Edge of the World © Stéphane Lavoué

From On the Edge of the World © Stéphane Lavoué

Syria, January 2017. Large parts of Homs are completely destroyed. Nevertheless, some residents come back and try to rebuild their homes. Three quarters of Homs consists of ruins. Taxi drives through ruins. From Road to Ruin © Christian Werner

Syria, January 2017. Large parts of Homs are completely destroyed. Nevertheless, some residents come back and try to rebuild their homes. Roadblocks from broken vehicle wrecks were built. From Road to Ruin © Christian Werner

Syria, Raqqa, November 2017. According to estimates by the Civil Council, more than 8,000 mines are said to be hidden in raqqa. The Civil Council of Raqqa explores a former IS hospital. They are looking for medicines that can continue to be used. View from the ruined tower clock to the ruins of Raqqa. Abdulla al-Arian inspects the place. From Road to Ruin © Christian Werner

Syria, January 2017. Destroyed street alley in east Aleppo. Residents who have returned to the streets. Rebels have piled up destroyed buses on a building for protection from mortar shells. From Road to Ruin © Christian Werner

Syria, January 2017. A chained dog and a boy in front of the coastal promenade in Latakia. From Road to Ruin © Christian Werner

From Les extraterrestres ont mangé mon jardin [The aliens have eaten my garden] © Elsa Stubbé

From Les extraterrestres ont mangé mon jardin [The aliens have eaten my garden] © Elsa Stubbé

From Les extraterrestres ont mangé mon jardin [The aliens have eaten my garden] © Elsa Stubbé

From Les extraterrestres ont mangé mon jardin [The aliens have eaten my garden] © Elsa Stubbé

From Les extraterrestres ont mangé mon jardin [The aliens have eaten my garden] © Elsa Stubbé

From Between the Mountains and Water © Kechun Zhang

From Between the Mountains and Water © Kechun Zhang

From Between the Mountains and Water © Kechun Zhang

From Between the Mountains and Water © Kechun Zhang

From Between the Mountains and Water © Kechun Zhang

From Sequences of Truth and Deception © Vanja Bucan

From Sequences of Truth and Deception © Vanja Bucan

From Sequences of Truth and Deception © Vanja Bucan

From Sequences of Truth and Deception © Vanja Bucan

From Sequences of Truth and Deception © Vanja Bucan

Lisa, a volunteer, with a donkey on a walk. She has been at Svetlana Village for nearly two years. She worked in the bakery, took care of the donkey and now is working on the farm. Young people from different countries often come to live and work in the village. From Svetlana © Mary Gelman

Vasya is working on farm. What’s special about him is that he often asks question to which he knows the answers. In his spare time, he likes to listen to Pink Floyd and Queen and cut out pictures from magazines making collages to decorate his
desk. From Svetlana © Mary Gelman

Amir came to the village with his parents. They loved him very much, but did not understand how life would be built after Amir’s coming of age. They wanted his life to be filled with a sense of his own worth, and they were afraid that it would be impossible. Amir himself felt that it was frightening to become independent. But he stayed in Svetlana where he got that independence. There he learned a lot and got skills for handmade. The villagers adore Amir for his inner strength, independence and his kind heart. From Svetlana © Mary Gelman

Tatiana and Minya are residents with Down syndrome. They met in the village and fell in love. They call each other husband and wife. From Svetlana © Mary Gelman

Villagers of the camphill are of different religious affiliation. Some residents often visit this chapel. From Svetlana © Mary Gelman

From Amuninni ’u mari [Let’s go to the sea] © Turi Calafato

From Amuninni ’u mari [Let’s go to the sea] © Turi Calafato

From Amuninni ’u mari [Let’s go to the sea] © Turi Calafato

From Amuninni ’u mari [Let’s go to the sea] © Turi Calafato

From Amuninni ’u mari [Let’s go to the sea] © Turi Calafato

Seen from above, the Amazon resembles a huge billiards table-a field of intense green pockmarked by brown stains. These are the sites of illegal mines, and they reveal the scope of a gold rush that threatens the lungs of the planet.“The loss of our natural resources is incalculable” says Antonio Fernandez Jeri, Peru’s high commissioner on illegal mining.“Each lost hectare represents unique flora and fauna species” he said.
In Peru, a new unprecedented operation has shut down illegal mining sites. Those sites are in the Madre de Dios region, where approximately 150,000 acres of forest have already been lost due to illegal mining.
Peru leads South America in gold production and ranks fifth globally, but authorities there say 20 percent of its exported gold, comes from these clandestine mines. But this mining, which first began in the 1980s, extends beyond Peru. In every Amazon country, the largest forest in the world, is being slowly eaten away by an explosion of tiny unreported mines. From the series Dredges © Ernesto Benavides

From the series Dredges © Ernesto Benavides

From the series Dredges © Ernesto Benavides

From the series Dredges © Ernesto Benavides

From the series Dredges © Ernesto Benavides

From Architecture of Violence © Stephen Dock

From Architecture of Violence © Stephen Dock

From Architecture of Violence © Stephen Dock

From Architecture of Violence © Stephen Dock

From Architecture of Violence © Stephen Dock