copyright, Mikhael Subotzky
9 July 2009: Leica Camera has announced that this year’s prestigious ‘Leica Oskar Barnack Award’ has been awarded to photographer Mikhael Subotzky.
The 28-year-old’s prize-winning portfolio, entitled ‘Beaufort West’, impressed the panel of judges – which included the internationally known singer and Leica photographer Seal – for its scenes from the South African town of the same name.
Second place in this year’s competition was taken by Dominic Nahr. The Swiss-born photographer was awarded the new ‘Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award’ for his photographic essay from the Congo, entitled ‘The Road to Nowhere’.
The images captured by Mikhael Subotzky amply document the main feature of Beaufort West: the main N1 national road, connecting Johannesburg and Cape Town. For many of the residents, the road is their only connection to the outside world, where, in the evening hours, many residents line the sides of the road to peddle their wares to travellers. Mikhael Subotzky shows various street scenarios and captures the essence of each.
The portfolio in second place – ‘The Road to Nowhere’ – documents the dramatic situation of refugees in the east of the Republic of Congo at the end of 2008. In his images, Dominic Nahr accompanies refugees and soldiers on their apparently hopeless search for safety.
In addition to singer/photographer Seal, the jury for this year’s Leica Oskar Barnack Award also included the following members: François Hébel (Arles Meetings Director), Hans-Peter Junker (Editor-in-Chief of VIEW, Gruner+Jahr publishing house), Karin Rehn-Kaufmann (Creative Director of the Leica Gallery in Salzburg) and Dr Andreas Kaufmann (Managing Director of the majority shareholder ACM).
The Leica Oskar Barnack Award ceremony takes place at the photographic festival in Arles from 7 to 12 July 2009. The winner receives 5,000 [€] or Leica camera equipment to the same value.
All portfolios submitted may be viewed in the online gallery at: www.leica-oskar-barnack preis.de