All the gloom and doom about the demise of print media was put aside last week after spending a few days in Hannover, Germany at the 3rd LUMIX festival for young photojournalists. The sophisticated and thoughtful work I saw there – and more than that – the commitment these emerging photojournalists have — gave me new hope.
Christopher Cappozziello, an American photographer was awarded the Lammehuber Award for his sensitive, yet unblinking look into a very personal story about his twin brother who has cerebral palsy. In The Distance Between Us, the unpleasant realities are interpreted through the eyes of this young photographer.
Indian photographer Bharat Choudhary explored Islamaphobia by photographing Muslim life in the United States and England for his Master’s project at the University of Missouri. The Silence of Others received an Honorable Mention, but the work spoke to me while viewing his images at one of the 60 exhibits. The photographs had a unique style but were equally powerful for their content.
The FREELENS Award went to a Peter van Agtmael for an essay he assembled on the theme of war mixing his experiences photographing conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan with childhood fascination of war. The Yale grad is represented by Magnum and his short career is packed with honors that would be overwhelming to receive in a lifetime.
Festival awards also went to Polish photographer Tomasz Lazar for a project on ongoing changes in our society from the influence of culture and technology. Sebastian Liste, a Spanish photographer captured friendship, love, and conflicts in Brazil. Dutch photographer Llvy Njiokiktjien’s Africkaner Blood, a multi-media story won the top prize. Chernobyl Workers were American Maisie Crow’s focus in multi-media. Remi Ochlik, a 29-year old French photographer who lost his life in February while photographing in Syria was honored with the HAZ Award for pictures of Arab Spring.
Thanks to the work by Rolf Nobel, founder of the festival, and photojournalist and professor at The University of Hanover, this third event was co-sponsored with FREELENS, a German photojournalists association. There were speakers, panels, photo exhibits as well as multi-media shows entered by photographers.
Hearing stories behind the photographs and getting a sense of the photographers personality always adds deeper understanding work. Craig Walker, Darcy Padilla, Munem Wasif, Rena Effendi, Stuart Franklin, Joakim Eskildsen, Anja Niedringhaus lectured throughout the week.
And then there are friends that made the trip more meaningful. Jakob Michael Berr, Jana Asenbrennerova, Uwe Martin and Frauke Huber. Gerd Ludwig stopped between his travels. Having time with Ruth Eichhorn of GEO was awesome.
Beyond the honored exhibitors, I was intrigued by the photographers I met through portfolio reviews and casual conversations to discuss ongoing work. The commitment to documentary projects was evident. Vision and skills were at various levels and stages, but there was an infectious enthusiasm that I found refreshing. The festival was unique and had a multi-cultural influence that truly celebrated upcoming photographers.