Leica Announces Oskar Barnack 2012 Winners

Leica Announces Oskar Barnack 2012 Winners

Every year, Leica hosts a quite prestigious contest, offering the Leica Oskar Barnack Award. With categories for both professionals and newcomers, the contest enables winners to showcase their talents and gives the ultimate bragging rights. Main prizes include a Leica M9-P and lens!

The professional category winner is Frank Hallam Day, who won for his portfolio, "Alumscapes," in which he explores man's relationship with the natural world -- in this case, the homeliness of the RV amidst the Florida landscape.

Find more of Frank Hallam Day's "Alumascape" portfolio here.

The Newcomer 2012 Award belongs to Piotr Zbierski of Poland for his "White Elephant" portfolio. His images, taken over the course of five years mostly throughout Europe and Asia, examine the "expression of emotion...[through] fleeting encounters with strangers."

Find more on Piotr Zbierski's "White Elephant" portfolio here.

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can someone please explain to me why/how "white elephant" won? I don't see much artistic merit in those photos at all, yes good snapshots with some strong emotion from the characters involved but that's all they amount to, snapshots...

Then what would you call the work of Henri Cartier Bresson?

Christopher Hoffmann's picture

Ahhh, maybe "Original"!!!

 Amaizing iconic true master work, not hipsmatic blurry crap!

I agree with Seb. These aren't even technically good photographs. They seem to be bordering on lomography in a black and white format

the reason the photos in " white elephant " won, in my opinion is for the meaning behind them. Yes, although the photos themselves are only snap shots which are blurred, contorted, washed out, over/under exposed those elements make the photos more realistic emotionally. it says in the description "  the “expression of emotion…[through] fleeting encounters with strangers.” " The style of photography is being used as symbolism and is embodying the fact that these are fleeting encounters, these are not models, people the photographer knows, or even in some cases possibly people the photographer never even talked to. The photographer wanted to add that visual to his work so the viewers could better understand.

Thats just my honest opinion, and how i perceived it though, I could be totally wrong.

i dont see any comparison to the work of Henri Cartier Bresson to the white elephant snapshots.  i agree with Seb, these pics don't seem like anything more than snapshots.  i wonder what the judges saw?  perhaps my display sucks...

Tobias Solem's picture

Photography is so subjective it becomes about the judges preference, usually photos that "everyone" agree upon are better are often quite bland. Buy "The Photo Book" and I'm sure at least half of the photos there aren't gonna be "liked" by many photographers, even though they were chosen by very apt photographers. 

Another series of photograph, well explained by the artist, with extensive knowledge of art, symbolism.... to hide the simple fact that it's "ok" at best...

I HATE when artist have to justify, explain, put subtext to their ART. If you want to do weird, do weird. Don't give it pretention it doesn't have....


I can seriously say, that I could have taken most of those shots by accident.   Do you want to win next time?  Just keep your finger on the shutter button to capture "anything" as you are falling down.

'' Behind every successful person lies a pack of haters!'' UnKnOvN

Photography, without question, is an art.  Like all of the arts, there are going to be critics; like the saying goes, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."  We all break the "rules" of photography, I am probably at the front of the line.  Competitions are based on the eyes of the judges.   Entering a competition, to me, is a crapshoot based on which judges you get.

 You're right.

This image won a brand new car. 

I'm sure some of the people here would argue about how 'incredibly artistic' this image is compared to many others, but c'est la vie in photography and crappy art. 

I like the ones of the RV's, mainly the first one, with the orangish sky in the background....the "white elephant" series isn't great...like everyone else said, much are that series is just bad photos passed off as "art"...

I preferred the newcomer images to the professional.  The professional's images seemed to lack depth and seemed to be deprived of color when they shouldn't be.  The White Elephant photos carried a lot more weight with me, though I do see what people mean about technique.  I always think that about famous photographs of a war torn country....that I could have taken just as great of a photo had I happened to be there with a camera.  But it's not that simple.  I don't think the White Elephant photog risked his life getting these, but he's showing you a place and a time and starting a conversation.