In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the respected Leica Oskar Barnack Award, Leica Camera AG further heightens the prestige of the award with a new nomination-based submission process.

In a shift away from the traditional application-based model, the Leica Oskar Barnack Award will consider finalists and ultimately select winners based on nominations from 70 world-renowned photographic experts from over 30 countries. With this nomination process, the honor of being chosen as a finalist is an esteemed accomplishment of its own, as they are recognized and hand-selected by some of the most respected figures impacting the world of photography.

Each nominator will elect three photographers based upon their personal evaluation and judgement of the photographer’s work. The only requirements for nominations for the Award are that the photographer’s work must be a documentary or conceptual work on the theme of the relationship between mankind and its environment. In addition to the three photographers nominated for the main Award, each jury member will nominate one photographer under 30 years old for the Newcomer Award.

“Documentary photography is at the core of Leica’s storied history and a form or photography that continues to be very close to our hearts,” shares Karin Rehn Kaufmann, Art Director & Chief Representative Leica Galleries International, and Head of the LOBA Jury. “It felt right that approaching the 40th anniversary of our Award honoring the original documentary photographer, we raise it to an even higher level of worldwide recognition and prestige with this new panel of nominators.”

In May, the jury will gather at the Leica Camera headquarters in Wetzlar to select the winner of the 2020 Leica Oskar Barnack Award. For the first time in the Award’s 40 year history, the winner will receive a prize of €40,000, in addition to a Leica camera worth €10,000. The winning series will also be shown as part of a touring exhibition at Leica Galleries around the world and at selected photo festivals.

Additionally, the winner of the Newcomer Award will receive a photography assignment and two weeks of tutoring at Leica Camera AG Headquarters in Wetzlar, as well as a Leica Q camera worth €5,000.

The ceremony to present both winners will be held in Wetzlar on September 24, 2020. In celebration of 40 years of recognizing talented photographers, a special exhibition will showcase photographs from the 2020 LOBA winner, as well as works from select previous winners at the Ernst Leitz Museum and Leica Gallery Wetzlar. The LOBA magazine, presenting the winners in detail with comprehensive portfolios and background information, will be published to accompany the exhibition.

Find out more about the 40th anniversary and the panel of nominators at