The two winners of the 2022 Leica Oskar Barnack Award (LOBA), the renowned international photo competition that was held for the 42nd time this year, have now been selected.
In the main category of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, it was Kiana Hayeri – born in Iran and brought up in Canada – who convinced the jury of five. Her project, the “Written on the Ice, Left in the Sun” series, was proposed by no less than three nominators. For the Leica Oskar Barnack Award in the Newcomer category, it was German photographer Valentin Goppel who prevailed, with his “Between the Years” series. His work was submitted by the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hanover.
The two winning series and the finalists' photographic projects will be on display at the Ernst Leitz Museum in Leitz-Park Wetzlar, Germany, until January 2023.
Leica Oskar Barnack Award winner, 2022
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 took only a few days for the Taliban to destroy all the achievements made in the areas of freedom of expression, women’s rights and education, and to instil fear and insecurity in their place. The photographer was born in Iran, in 1988, and brought up in Canada. She has been living in Afghanistan for seven years now; her work centres, in particular, around the living situations of women.
Kiana Hayeri: “My work focuses on Afghan women; the same women who were put at the centre of war efforts to liberate them, shortly after the Americans invaded Afghanistan. Today, many of these women feel that they have been abandoned and left behind. Afghanistan is a place of extremes, where the best and the worst of humanity live side by side. Fear and courage, despair and hope, life and death coexist.”
grew up in Tehran, Iran, and moved to Toronto as a teenager. Faced with the challenges that come with adapting to a new environment, she adopted photography as a way to bridge the linguistic and cultural divide. Her work often deals with complex subjects, such as migration, adolescence, identity and sexuality in war-shaken countries. In 2021, she was awarded the Robert Capa Gold Medal for her photo series “Where Prison Is Kind of a Freedom”, which documented life for Afghani women in Herat Prison. In 2020, she received the Tim Hetherington Visionary Award, and became the sixth recipient of the James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting. The photographer is a Senior TED Fellow, and writes regularly for The New York Times and National Geographic. Hayeri currently lives and works in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Afghan girls patrol, during an ambush scenario, at Marshal Fahim Qasim Military Academy, north-west of Kabul. February 20, 2019. Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, most women officers and soldiers were removed from service. Many have now gone underground
Hundreds of women, in their best dresses and wearing makeup, attend the Nowruz celebration in the village of Nalij, in the Miramor district in Daikundi, March 21, 2021. After the Taliban takeover, Nowruz celebrations were cancelled all over the country
The cast of a street theatre group break into tears after the last act, where Tayebba would have played a dead person. Kabul, June 30, 2021. In real life, she and other colleagues from Afghan Film had been killed in an explosion in June
An IED was planted in a ditch and exploded a few minutes after the first main explosion, to target those running away from the scene. The house directly opposite the second explosion is only a short distance from the entrance to a school. Kabul, May 8, 2021
In the basement of an unfinished mosque, women mourn daughters and sisters killed in an attack. May 9, 2021. The powerful explosions, in the morning in front of a high school, killed at least 90 people, and injured a further 150. Many were teenage girls who were just coming out of class
Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award winner, 2022
Valentin Goppel: Between the Years
Hafiza (70) reveals an open wound on her throat; a wound that doctors believe is caused by grief. Badakhshan, April 8, 2021. Four of Hafiza’s sons opted for different paths: they joined the army, the Taliban, or an anti-Taliban militia
Young adults in times of Corona: the series by the German photographer (born 2000) explores the impact of the pandemic on his generation. He, too, experienced the sudden break away from habits, and the feelings of insecurity that seemed to define people’s plans and the future. Corona was like a catalyser for an ongoing sense of disorientation. Photography, however, offered Goppel a tool with which to better understand his thoughts and fears, and enabled him to give the sense of forlornness visual expression.
Valentin Goppel: “The pandemic was an exceptional situation for all of us. We were suddenly fighting against demons, which we had held back by means of familiar distractions. It is amazing how similar the experiences of these last years were for me and my friends – and yet, we all felt so alone. My state of limbo drags on.”
began to take portraits of his friends as a teenager. His first exhibition led to an apprenticeship with a photographer. He has been studying Documentary Photography in Hanover, since September, 2019. He has received his first assignments from publications, including Spiegel and Die Zeit. He is currently working on his first photo book about the feelings of youths.