The US-based Bangladeshi photographer, Ismail Ferdous, has won this year’s 43rd Leica Oskar Barnack Award (LOBA) main category. Ziyi Le, a Chinese photographer, won the newcomer category.
Both winners were honoured at a ceremony on October 12th, at the Ernst Leitz Museum in Wetzlar.
Dimitri Beck and James Wellford nominated Ferdous’s Sea Beach series. The Fudan University School of Journalism, in Shanghai, nominated Le’s New Comer series. A five-person jury chose the winners.
Ismail Ferdous was born in Bangladesh, in 1989, and currently lives between New York City and Bangladesh. He is a member of the Agence VU’ in Paris. His work is committed to social, cultural and humanitarian themes. He first got involved with photography while studying at business school in Dhaka.
Ferdous made a powerful photographic statement following the collapse of the Rana Plaza clothing factory in Dhaka in 2013. This was one of the worst industrial disasters in Bangladeshi history, which killed more than 1,100 workers. His documentary film and photo projects, “The Cost of Fashion” and “After Rana Plaza,” brought to light the devastating effects of the “fast fashion” industry.
His photography has also dealt with the issue of migration and flight on four continents. Ferdous works for a number of prestigious newspapers and magazines, and his work has received numerous awards.
Images courtesy of Leica
Ismail Ferdous: “The beach at Cox’s Bazar represents a popular escape into nature for an overpopulated country. It’s a place where anyone, from any level of society, can afford to take a holiday. The lack of a sense of urgency is noteworthy, as though time itself is begging people to abandon all their burdens and go to the beach. Winning the LOBA has not only brought immense joy to my day, but it has also made this entire year truly exceptional. This triumph stands as a testament to the unwavering belief and passionate dedication that I have devoted to my craft.”
Ziyi Le was born in Fujian, in 1993, and currently lives and works as a freelance photographer in Yunnan. He began his LOBA project in March 2020. He had moved to Hangzhou for professional reasons, but became bored with the routine of his job. This inspired him to develop this portrait series of his own generation.
Ziyi Le: “Throughout my whole time growing up, I had little communication, and was alienated for a long time, thereby giving rise to a sense of being in the middle of nowhere. Out of a basic instinct as a photographer, I decided to explore the similar void in the state of mind of young people like me, scattered in different cities, to see their faces as well as explore my deep self-doubt.”
Images courtesy of Leica
The Leica Oskar Barnhart Award Jury
Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, Art Director and Chief Representative of Leica Galleries International, said: “On behalf of the full LOBA 2023 jury (Caroline Hunter, Photo Editor, The Guardian Saturday magazine, Great Britain; Whitney Hollington Matewe, Photo Editor at TIME magazine, USA; François Hébel, Curator, France; and Luca Locatelli, Photographer, Italy), I would like to sincerely congratulate this year’s winners of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award.”
She went on to say: “Together, and with mutual appreciation, the jury completed the demanding task of selecting the finalists and winners. The outcome reveals a LOBA edition with particular strength, diversity and touching series.”
The LOBA is one of the most prestigious and highly endowed awards in the field of photography: the winner of the LOBA receives 40,000 euros and Leica camera equipment valued at 10,000 euros; the winner of the Newcomer Award receives 10,000 euros and a Leica Q3.
The award-winning photographs will be on display at the Ernst Leitz Gallery in Wetzlar, as part of an exhibition of all twelve short-listed series. The exhibition will then go on tour to Leica galleries around the world.
Join our community and play an active part in the future of Macfilos: This site is run by a group of volunteers and dedicated authors around the world. It is supported by donations from readers who appreciate a calm, stress-free experience, with courteous comments and an absence of advertising or commercialisation. Why not subscribe to the thrice-weekly newsletter by joining our mailing list? Comment on this article or, even, write your own. And if you have enjoyed the ride so far, please consider making a small donation to our ever-increasing running costs.