Winner 2004: Peter Granser
Photographer Peter Granser, born in 1971, has won the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2004 for his photo project 'Coney Island'. The 5,000 euro photojournalism prize will be awarded by the Leica Camera Group in collaboration with the 'Rencontres de la Photographie' festival held in Arles in the South of France.
Built in the 19th century, the amusement center Coney Island was intended as a future America, a technical wonderland right next to the Atlantic Ocean. In the amusement parks such as 'Dreamland’ and 'Luna Park’ the masses discovered new leisure habits. However, the formerly chic promenades and amusements have disappeared under a dirty veil of weeds and rust. Granser's photographs not only show citydwellers looking for diversion in their artificial environment. The study of the endearingly morbid charm of Coney Island is, from his point of view, at the same time a portrait of the 'American way of life’. “The restful, carefully observed color photos reflect the dreams of the small people and the utopias of the past. In the melancholic leisure eldorado, however, they mutate into empty illusions.
According to Gero Furchheim, Manager of Corporate Communications at Leica Camera AG, “the project of the self-taught photographer Peter Granser, in which he accurately analyses the relations between 'man and his environment', captures the theme of the Leica Oskar Barnack competition exactly.
The jury of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award also made two Honorable Mentions. Martin Kollar, member of Agence Vu, was distinguished for his photographic journey “Nothing Special” through various East European countries. Another Honorable Mention was given to the project 'Hotel Marinum’ of Magnum photographer Alex Majoli.
Peter Granser established with his first project Sun City a significant documentary style and developed his work succe ssful since then. Granser is self-educated and was given the Arles Discovery Award (2002), the Oskar-Barnack Award (2004) and the Helmut-Kraft-Foundation Talent Art Prize (2011). In 2006 he was a stipendiary of Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg. Inspired by residencies in China and Japan Granser founded 2015 the project space ITO to experiment with artistic positions revolving around topics such as time, emptiness, nature and consciousness.
Granser´s work is presented in public collections and has been exhibited amongst others at Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago, FOAM Amsterdam, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Kunsthalle Tübingen and NGBK Berlin. He published 7 books and the 8th is planned for 2017 (Heaven in Clouds with Edition Taube).