Leica has announced the winners of its 5th Annual Leica Foto Project Award on International Women’s Day 2024. This year’s competition encouraged applicants to share a photo essay tacking on topics of reclamation, resilience or rebirth.

Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, Art Director & Chief Representative Leica Galleries International, said, ‘Through these lenses, the Leica Women Foto Project continues to empower and amplify the voices that capture these profound narratives, adding depth to our collective visual tapestry while reflecting our commitment to celebrating the power of visual storytelling.’

The Leica Women Foto Project Award winners were Dola Posh from the UK, Stasia Schmidt from Canada, Luvia Lazo from Mexico and Camille Farrah Lenain from the US. Each winner will receive a Leica SL3 camera, a Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-70mm f/2.8 ASPH. Lens, and cash prize of $10,000 USD.

From Leica:

5th Annual Leica Women Foto Project Winners:

Leica Women Foto Award winner Camille Farrah Lenain
Photo credit: Camille Farrah Lenain.

Camille Ferrah Lenain, a French-Algerian documentary and portrait photographer, has crafted a remarkable body of work through her lens. Having honed her skills at l’ESA in Brussels and ICP in New York City, she previously imparted her knowledge as a Photography instructor at Tulane University in New Orleans. Lenain delves into long-term projects that challenge societal preconceptions, exploring stereotypes, collective memory, and plural identities. Her distinguished career includes being shortlisted for the Aperture Portfolio Prize in 2023 and attending the NY Portfolio Review.

Lenain’s portfolio boasts renowned clients such as The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and ELLE Magazine, with exhibitions at prestigious venues like the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Arab World Institute. Her winning project, “Made of Smokeless Fire,” sheds light on the often misunderstood and overlooked LGBTQIA+ representation within Muslim culture in France. Through her lens, Lenain captures the beauty of, and challenges faced by this community, contributing to a more nuanced understanding of their experiences.

Leica Women Foto Award winner Dola Posh
Photo credit: Dola Posh.

UK-based and Nigerian-born photographer Dola Posh delves into the complexities of self-identity and postpartum depression, seamlessly blending strength and vulnerability through her lens. Beyond her photographic accomplishments, Dola Posh actively facilitates NHS workshops on mental health and postpartum depression, sharing her insights at Ravensbourne University, highlighting the intersection of women, photography, and technology.

With an imaginative approach, Dola Posh continues to illuminate the narratives of Black women and mothers, infusing her work with unique stories of motherhood to inspire societal change. Her winning “OMO MI” series (a phrase meaning “my child”) explores the profound and transformative journey of becoming a new mother, capturing a delicate and life-changing essence that defines the experience of motherhood. Themes of self-discovery, resilience, and the renewal of feminine strength resonate throughout this evocative work.

Leica Women Foto Award winner Luvia Lazo
Photo credit: Luvia Lazo.

Luvia Lazo, a Zapotec indigenous photographer born in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico is a poignant storyteller who captures the essence of identity, generational shifts, grief, and the symbiotic relationship between human beings and spaces imbued with cultural and spiritual significance. Recognised for her talent, Lazo was a recipient of the Young Creators program by FONCA (National Fund for Culture and the Arts) in Mexico and earned the prestigious 2021 Indigenous Photograph award.

Her work, featured in group and solo exhibitions across diverse locations like Mexico City, New York, and Barcelona, has been published in renowned outlets such as The New Yorker, Vogue USA, and Vogue Mexico. Luvia Lazo’s winning project, “Women from the Clouds,” is a profound series aimed at creating a mosaic of narratives surrounding contemporary indigenous women of different ages. Through this project, she endeavours to contribute to a rich and unique understanding of the diverse experiences of indigenous women, shaping a broader and more enriched perspective on womanhood as a whole.

Leica Women Foto Award winner Stasia Schmidt
Photo credit: Stasia Schmidt.

Hailing from Calgary in Alberta, CA, Stasia Schmidt is an acclaimed fine art photographer known for her keen eye for simplicity and form, as well as her meticulous attention to detail. Embracing unexpected surrealism in the natural environment, she skilfully layers subversive femininity with stark reality throughout her photographic process.

Through the viewfinder, she embraces the untamed realm of imagination, using each photograph as an opportunity to deepen self-awareness and challenge perceptions. As a self-taught artist, Stasia taps into a deep well of inspiration, drawing from her love of music, dance, science fiction, and adventure. Her winning project, “Ephemerality,” is a testament to her ability to confront societal norms, specifically exploring the feminine presence in traditionally male-dominated adventure realms, prompting viewers to reconsider preconceived notions about women in these spaces.

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