Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2013: Evgenia Arbugaeva „Tiksi“

Winner 2013: Evgenia Arbugaeva

The 2013 Leica Oskar Barnack Award goes to Evgenia Arbugaeva. Born in Siberia, Evgenia Arbugaeva has been awarded this prestigious photography prize for „Tiksi“, a portfolio of her images from a project shot in the small town of the same name on the Arctic coast of northern Siberia.

In her portfolio „Tiksi“, Evgenia Arbugaeva takes a closer look at her birthplace and everyday life in the Arctic. Formerly an important military and scientific base at the heart of the Siberian tundra, the erstwhile importance of the port is no longer visible. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the global crisis of the 1990s, the population of the town fell dramatically. Although relatively well supplied in the Soviet era, today the town’s remaining residents face severe unemployment and grim perspectives. More and more people have left the town as a consequence of the increasingly failing standards of living. In an intensely emotive and poetic manner, the photographer infuses her images of the Arctic desolation and the icebound landscape and its residents with a particularly fascinating beauty. She presents scenes of everyday life in plain and simple images without distracting details. Her photographs show the struggle of the people against the never-ending cold, deprivation and loneliness. 

At the same time, the photographer captures her home town with a warm and loving eye. Her photos radiate an almost fairy-tale magic that above all captures the imagination of their viewers. 

Interview with Evgenia Arbugaeva on Leica Camera Blog

Evgenia Arbugaeva

Born in 1985, working as a free-lance photographer between Russia and New York. In 2009, she completed the photojournalism and documentary programme at the International Center of Photography in New York. In 2012, Tiksi earned her the Magnum Emergency Fund.