PHOTOGRAPHS BY KACPER KOWALSKI AND TOMASZ WIECH
WINNERS OF THIS YEAR'S INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION LEICA OSKAR BARNAK AWARD 2011

22.09 - 15.10.2011

The Oskar Barnack Award is one of the biggest photography competitions dedicated to photojournalism in the world. The first edition took place in 1979 on the 100th birthday of Oskar Barnack – the creator of the Leica camera. Since then the competition has been organised annually. The international jury includes photographers, picture editors and curators of Leica galleries from around the world.

Over 2000 photographers from 89 countries participated this year in the 32nd edition.

“Flood from the sky”, the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2011 prize – winning series by Kacper Kowalski was created in May and June 2010 at the request of The FORUM Polish Photographers Agency. From the perspective of a paraglider flying over an area of nearly 100 square kilometers, the author has shown flood which destroys towns, villages, the infrastructure and changes the landscape. The pictures are more like abstract paintings than photographs, thoughtful graphic compositions of color, repetitive rhythmic patterns, symmetries and asymmetries of fields, roads, meadows, lakes. Every photograph is well thought out and shows the author’s great sensitivity to form and beauty of the landscape. 15 color photos were displayed at the exhibition.

Tomasz Wiech is one of the most interesting Polish photographers of the younger generation. His series “In Poland”, also singled out by the jury of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2011 competition, resembles some of the works of the best Polish photojournalists. The project is a closer look at modern Poland, its landscape, known and recognised places along with those left out by the guide books. The author visits resorts, pilgrimage centres, cities and towns. He distances himself from Poland focusing on what is funny as well as on what is not funny at all. He captures the absurdities and contrasts, dreams of being rich, the best, of having a forest on a desert, mountains by the sea and the world’s biggest dinosaur in the back yard. He combines perception with sensitivity, sense of humour with seriousness, but above all he tells the truth about people and the times they live in.