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People and Place:

Leica Oskar Barnack Award 40th Anniversary

2020.11.28 - 2021.01.31

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20190817_SCoP Interior_Atrium_04©️Shen Z


Exhibition Duration

November 28, 2020 to

January 31, 2021


Tuesday-Sunday, 10:30-17:30

(last entry 17:00)


Full Price: ¥40 / Student Price: ¥30



Shanghai Center of Photography is delighted to present in collaboration with Leica the exhibition “People and Place: Leica Oskar Barnack Award 40th Anniversary”. The exhibition selects 2020 LOBA winners, whose works are displayed together with a snapshot overview of the award’s four-decade history from 1980 till now in a selection of images from past winners. This is the first time that LOBA exhibition tours to China.


40 Years of History 

Exploring the relationship between 

humanity and the environment through photography

On the occasion of the 40-year anniversary of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award (LOBA), the exhibition “People and Place” represents a wonderful opportunity to look back over forty years of Leica Oskar Barnack Awards. Here, you will find touching and evocative stories, exciting discoveries through encounters with a great variety of photographic perspectives. From the launch of the award in 1980, Leica’s aim was to celebrate photographers with a “keen talent for observation and for vividly expressing the relationship between humanity and the environment”. In retrospect, the LOBA award captures the shifting world of photojournalism in all its diversity and humanist concerns.

Throughout the four decades of LOBA’s history, the winning series’ give us visions of everyday life, the changing situation of climate, industry, science, social economy and leisure. The works of the award-winning photographers capture vital aspects of modern life, of differing communities, societies and lifestyles. They also offer glimpses into unknown worlds – as seen through LOBA’s history through the eyes of world-renown photographers such as Sebastião Salgado, Gianni Berengo Gardin, Wendy Watriss, Jane Evelyn Atwood or David Turnley. Many careers received a decisive boost as a result of the LOBA.


The idea for the award came about in 1979 on the occasion of the centenary of the birth year of Oskar Barnack (1879–1936). Barnack was the ingenious inventor and developer of the new type of camera, the Ur-Leica. With this milestone in camera technology, Leica revolutionized amateur photography and, in particular, the field of photojournalism, and would write an entire new chapter in photographic history.


Timeless Spirit

 Seeing the trend of the times with LOBA 2020

“People and Place: Leica Oskar Barnack Award 40th Anniversary” presents the eight shortlisted photographers of LOBA 2020, whose works explore our current relationship with nature and social environments by their extraordinary perception and unique visual expression.


As the highlight of the exhibition, the winner of LOBA 2020 is the Italian photographer, Luca Locatelli, whose series “Future Studies” questions the need for permanent economic growth, using images to open up the debate about our relationship to nature and technology by presenting technologies that are damaging the present alongside those intended to offer alternatives for the future.


Winner of the LOBA 2020 Newcomer award is the Portuguese photographer Gonçalo Fonseca. Photographing the lives of those most affected by recent the housing crisis in Lisbon, Portugal, his series “New Lisbon” reveals the dramatic social change that occurs through inner city gentrification, and the explosion in property prices that follows.


The works of all photographers on the 2020 LOBA shortlist represent the strengths of the photographic medium. The combined values of social documentary with a keen aesthetic appeal to the eye and the mind. This, together with the geographic diversity of the photographers, their backgrounds and interests, and the diverse ways in which they express their response to topics, gives LOBA a place in the present, as well as in history.


SCoP is delighted to work with Leica to host the exhibition “People and Place:Leica Oskar Barnack Award 40th Anniversary”. We hope this will be a great opportunity for visitors to access the history of photography, and to gain insight into our times through the visions of a young generation of photographers. The glimpse of past winners that is included makes for a journey through documentary photography and photo-journalism over the recent 40 years.


“People and Place: Leica Oskar Barnack Award 40th Anniversary” will open on November 28 at SCoP. Look forward to your visit!

The Photographers


“The range of subject matter, aesthetics and execution of the winning images feels unique to the LOBA. There’s always an emphasis on interesting storytelling, and Leica as a brand is synonymous with quality and style, with a well-earned place in photographic history.”

——Caroline Hunter, Picture Editor of The Guardian Weekend magazine


“LOBA is definitely one of the most prestigious photography awards. It’s incredible to look back at its history, which – considering the talented award-winners – is like looking at the history of photography.”

——Alessia Glaviano, Brand Visual Director Vogue Italia


“The first thing is the durability and consistency of the LOBA; the 40th anniversary is special, and for photographers that validation over four decades means all the more. The other thing is the association with a camera maker that has played a big part in the history of photography. The roll call of previous LOBA winners is really impressive.”

——Azu Nwagbogu, Founder and Director of the Lagos Photo Festival and the African Artists’ Foundation


“The LOBA’s strength is rooted in the photographic history of the last 40 years. I’ve been following the project for years because it focuses on the relationship between man and the environment.”

——Krzysztof Candrowicz, Independent Curator and Founder of the International Festival of Photography in Lodz

2020 LOBA Jury Quotes


“I was impressed by the high quality level of the submissions. I was touched by the great awareness of the photographers’ eyes and hearts. With unique stories, they used very individual and creative ways to deal with the important issues of our times.”

——Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, Executive Vice President Leica Galleries International


“The quality of the submissions was high. In general, the photographers often touched on heavy issues, there were not a lot of sunshine stories. It might be part of the tradition of documentary photography, but also it says a lot about our time.”

——Pauline Benthede, Director of Fotografiska International


“My experience during the jurying of the LOBA competition was often uplifting. I saw a diverse and serious range of works covering the human condition as it was perceived by these artists, and we, the jurors, were expressive and honest in our discussions about the works. I’m happy to have been a part of it.”

——Joel Meyerowitz, Art director and Photographer

The Curator


The winner of the LOBA 2020: Luca Locatelli, 2020 Newcomer Winner Gonçalo Fonseca. And other shortlists: Ragnar Axelsson, Matthew Abbott, Maïmouna Guerresi, Davide Monteleone, Cristina de Middel, and Vincent Fournier.

We'll also be honoring all 50 past LOBA Winners and Newcomers with a brief retrospective of their works:

Floris Bergkamp, Björn H. Larsson Ask, Wendy Watriss, Neil McGahee, Stormi Greener, Sebastião Salgado, David C. Turnley, Jeff Share, Chris Steele-Perkins, Charles Mason, Raphael Gaillarde, Barry Lewis, Sebastião Salgado, Eugene Richards, Gianni Berengo-Gardin, Larry Towell, Jane Evelyn Atwood, Fabio Ponzio, Claudine Doury, Luc Delahaye, Bertrand Meunier, Narelle Autio, Andrea Hoyer, Peter Granser, Guy Tillim, Tomás Munita, Julio Bittencourt, Lucia Nimcova, Mikhael Subotzky, Dominic Nahr, Jens Olof Lasthein, Andy Spyra, J an Grarup, Jing Huang(黄京), Frank Hallam Day, Piotr Zbierski, Evgenia Arbugaeva, Ciril Jazbec, Martin Kollar, Alejandro Cegarra, JH Engström, Wiktoria Wojciechowska, Scarlett Coten, Clémentine Schneidermann, Terje Abusdal, Sergey Melnitchenko, Max Pinxkers, Mary Gelman, Mustafah Abdulaziz, Nanna Heitmann.

LOBA 2020 


Shortlist Candidates

Ragnar Axelsson

The Icelandic photographer (born 1958) considers that the Greenlandic sled dogs are among the greatest heroes ever known in the northern reaches. Shot in black and white, his Artic Heroes – Where the world is melting series is a homage to both the dogs and to the Arctic way of life. Both are threatened with extinction, due to the devastating effects of global warming. 


Matthew Abbott

There is virtually no country on earth as dramatically affected by catastrophic climate change as Australia. Record temperatures and an on-going drought were responsible for 25 million hectares going up in flames, during the summer of 2019. The impressive Black Summer series, by the Australian photographer (born 1984), reports on the inferno from up close.


Luca Locatelli

Future Studies is a long-term project, by the Italian photographer (born 1971), that is specifically aimed at exploring new ways for humanity to survive on planet Earth. He questions our concept of the need for permanent economic growth, and uses his project to open up an intense debate about our relationship to nature and technology.


Maïmouna Guerresi

In her bright and colourful series Beyond the Border – A Journey to Touba, the Italian-Senegalese multimedia artist (born 1951) combines feminine spirituality with the symbolism of the Touba tree. Her highly artistic motifs deal with everyday life, caught between modernity and tradition, especially in Senegal. 


Davide Monteleone

In his Sinomocene series, the Italian photographer (born 1974) explores the impact produced by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which reflects China’s growing presence around the globe. Spanning four continents, the project is documented photographically on location in - among other places - Ethiopia, Djibouti, Italy, Cambodia and Kazakhstan.


Gonçalo Fonseca(Newcomer 2020)

The New Lisbon series underlines the current dramatic situation of apartments and housing in Lisbon. As a result of the exploding property prices in the capital, over 10,000 tenants have already lost their homes. Highlighting individual stories, the Portuguese photographer (born 1993) reveals the consequences of progressive gentrification.


Cristina de Middel

In her on-going project, Journey to the Center, the Spanish photographer (born 1975) makes reference to the surreal atmosphere and symbolism of the similarly titled novel by Jules Verne, as a way to present the current Central American migration route, through Mexico, as a daring and heroic journey. Documentation and fiction blend to create a multi-layered narrative. 


Vincent Fournier

In his Space Project series – on-going since 2007 – the French photographer (born 1970) tells the story of space exploration. He documents its very beginnings and continues into the future, with projects such as NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), which is planned to reach Mars. Fournier’s pictures open up an exciting discussion about the future meaning and uses of outer space.


* All of the works are long-term photography projects completed within one year

About LOBA


Leica Oscar Barnack Award was established in 1980 and is named after the legendary inventor of the Leica camera, Oscar Barnack. Over the ensuing 40 years, it has grown into one of the most prestigious international awards. The award focuses on the relationship between people and their living environment through the lens of photographers from different countries around the world. Since 2009, a newcomer award has been added to encourage and explore young photographers around the world.

About Leica Camera


Leica Camera AG is an internationally operating, premium-segment manufacturer of cameras and sport optics products. The legendary reputation of the Leica brand is founded on a long tradition of excellent quality. In combination with innovative technologies, all Leica products fulfil a common objective: better pictures, wherever perception and visualization matter. Leica Camera AG has its headquarters in Wetzlar, in the state of Hessen in Germany, and a second production site in Vila Nova de Famalicão, Portugal. It also operates its own worldwide network of regional organizations, Leica Retail Stores, Leica Galleries and Leica Akademies.


Thanks Vanke, Leica and Hahnemühle for their kindly support.

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