Scarlett Coten is honoured with the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2016 for her project titled Mectoub. In Mectoub, the French photographer Scarlett Coten questions the roles and image of men in the Arab world. Her portraits draw attention to the discrepancy between social conformity and individual longing. Following the Arab Spring, Scarlett Coten began looking into diverse aspects of the changes taking place in societies in North Africa and the Middle East. Looking through the camera lens from the perspective of a woman, she managed to produce very direct portraits of the men she photographed. With Mectoub – a play on words combining the Arabic ‘maktub’ (مكتوب), which refers to the fateful ‘It is written…’, and the French ‘mec’, a colloquial and friendly term for ‘guy’ –, the photographer subtly questions the traditional image of men in the Arab world.
The winner of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award Newcomer 2016 is Clémentine Schneidermann for her series The Unbearable, the Sadness and the Rest. The Parisian photographer moved to Abertillery in South Wales just a year ago and began to deal more intensely with the living conditions in the region. The landscape is delightful, but the area is burdened by enormous economic and social problems. Since the final coal mines were closed down, the South Wales Valley communities are suffering a post-industrial crisis. The series presents an unusual stylistic combination of documentary, portrait and fashion photography.