The two winners of the 42nd edition of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2022 have just been announced, with Kiana Hayeri securing the main prize for her series Promises Written on the Ice, Left in the Sun, and German photographer Valentin Goppel winning best Newcomer for his photo series Between the Years.
The projects from both winners and ten runners-up will be displayed at the Ernst Leitz Museum in Wetzlar, Germany, now open until January 2023. In an award ceremony at the museum, Hayeri will be receiving a €40,000 prize along with €10,000 worth of Leica kit to spur on her career, while Valentin will collect €10,000 and a Leica Q2 camera.
Iranian-Canadian Hayeri documents her seven-year experience of living in Afghanistan. Her work highlights the recent strides taken in freedom of expression and women’s rights and education by the nation’s people, and the Taliban’s role in reversing the progress made. By focusing on the women at the heart of the conflict, she documents everyday moments, taken between summer 2018 and autumn of 2021, and depicts an everyday reality that has rapidly become something of the past. Her work highlights a stark contemporary reality where fear dominates, and people once at the forefront of progress have to flee the country to find safety.
Karin Rehn-Kauffmann, art director and chief representative of Leica Galleries, notes the enthusiasm from the jury on the nomination of such ‘young participants, as well as the higher proportion of women photographers’, and thanks the jury for having ‘always kept the human touch at heart’. Rehn-Kauffmann also notes that the runners-up cover a breadth of explorations into the human experience, with projects highlighting Peruvian indigenous populations, projections of apocalypse in nature and the Haitian migration crisis.
Goppel’s works, nominated by the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hanover, consider the insecurity induced by the pandemic in his generation. Through familiar sights of crowds and bedroom drinking, he relates the common experience of teenagers through lockdowns, while highlighting the loneliness of a generation disorientated by the future.
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Martha Elliott is the Junior Digital News Editor at Wallpaper*. After graduating from university she worked in arts-based behavioural therapy, then embarked on a career in journalism, joining Wallpaper* at the start of 2022. She reports on art, design and architecture, as well as covering regular news stories across all channels.
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