40 Years of Leica Oskar Barnack Award

Exhibition from 23 October 2020 – 28 March 2021

On the occasion of the 40 year jubilee of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award (LOBA), Leica is presenting a comprehensive retrospective of all LOBA winners at the Ernst Leitz Museum. The exhibition opens on October 23. At the same time, the works of the 2020 LOBA winners will be on display at the Leica Gallery Wetzlar.

The exhibition represents a wonderful opportunity to look back over forty years of Leica Oskar Barnack Awards: touching and evocative stories, exciting rediscoveries and new encounters, with a great variety of perspectives! This exhibition offers a clear testimony to the visual richness of the LOBA winner and newcomer series over four decades, and presents photojournalism in all its diversity and constant changes.

The photographers capture vital processes and incite societal discussions; for example, around how to deal with medical problems, poverty or social injustice. Reportages about specific people, living communities and forms of society, that have appeared in series and have captured the diverse range of lifestyles, seem to be even more significant.

The overall retrospective of the LOBA series offers a glimpse into unknown worlds – as seen through the eyes of world renown photographers such as Sebastião Salgado, Gianni Berengo Gardin, Wendy Watriss, Jane Evelyn Atwood, David Turnley or Max Pinckers.

The idea for the competition came about on the occasion of the centenary of the birth year of Oskar Barnack (1879–1936), the ingenious inventor and developer of the new type of camera, with which Leica would go on to write photographic history, and which was to revolutionize amateur photography and, in particular, photojournalism.

The comprehensive presentation that spreads over both floors of the Ernst Leitz Museum, presents over 350 exhibits. The accompanying, richly illustrated catalogue documents all 52 LOBA series – 40 main winners and twelve newcomers.

The Ernst Leitz Museum

The Ernst Leitz Museum is being developed into a central cultural institution of national and international importance at which the numerous different facets of photography can be encountered and discovered. In accordance with the Code of Ethics of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), its work is centred on the acquisition, conservation, study, popularisation and exhibiting of important examples of photography, photographic art and photographic technology and equipment. Here, the focus is tightly set on researching and communicating the past, present and future of modern photography.

The Ernst Leitz Museum is situated on the flexible boundary between the roles it plays as a company museum and a museum of photography. In view of this, it stands for multifaceted and profound scientific work, which not only embraces exhibitions of photography, but also projects relevant to the company’s history or technological aspects of photography. It addresses questions relevant to photography and establishes connections that have a bearing on current discourse and debate on photographic topics. The museum will systematically advance and develop its work as a vibrant, future-oriented institution with a view to expanding the circle of persons with an interest in photography and a passion for its various facets. Correspondingly, it will be offering its guests and visitors an increasing number of orchestrated exhibitions and experiences. In future, this will also include the presentation of many topics in digital form.

Touring exhibitions

Many of our exhibitions are conceived as international touring exhibitions. If you are interested in staging any of them, please contact the museum at info@ernst-leitz-museum.de