The 13th annual Lucie Awards (known in the industry as the “Oscars of Photography”) was held last night, October 27, in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, and got underway with “a first,” according to Susan Baraz, the Lucie’s co-chair and head of judging at the International Photography Awards: as she tore open the first envelope of the evening containing the winner of the International Photographer of the Year, Baraz let out a gasp—”There’s a tie!”
The list of finalists included Howard Schatz and Christophe Viseux, among others, but the awards went to Ukrainian conflict photographer Maxim Dondyuk for the Editorial Category, and Sandro, the Chicago-based commercial portrait photographer whose delightfully astute “Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich” project, in which he re-imagined various classic photographs with John Malkovich as his sole subject, created “a f***ing tidal wave,” as the actor wrote him last year. (Sandro was our Photographer You Should Know last December—read more about him and his work here.)
Dondyuk wasn’t in attendance last night, but a shocked Sandro took to the stage. “I would have given my left testicle that Howard would have won this,” he said. He then thanked the past recipients, including Irving Penn, pumping his award in the air when he said his name, a small tribute to the photographer who inspired his Malkovich project.
The Discovery of the Year award went to the Finnish photographer Ville Kansanen for his fine-art project “The Procession of Spectres,” and the Lifetime Achievement award went to large-format documentary photographer George Tice, who recounted when he first joined the Carteret Camera Club in the 1950s and won a trophy for his photos, at just 14 years old. “I know exactly where I’ll put my Lucie,” he said. “Right next to my first trophy.”
The Picture Editor of the Year went to Kathy Ryan for her work as the Director of Photography at The New York Times Magazine. A colleague accepted it on her behalf, exclaiming, “She’s the best boss ever, but also a good mom and it’s her daughter’s birthday tonight.” Fashion Layout of the Year went to Harper’s BAZAAR for its feature “Rihanna Swimming With Sharks,” created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Jaws—the awardee thanked the photographer Norman Jean Roy for his collaboration, as well as the “fashion sharks.”
Jerry Uelsmann was given the Achievement in Fine Arts award, and David Hume Kennerly received the Achievement in Photojournalism, which was presented by TV journalist Ann Curry. “I shouldn’t even be standing here,” said Kennerly as he remembered getting shipped off to Saigon at 24 years old to cover the war in Vietnam. “It’s essential that real photographers cast light in places others fear to go.”
The Print Advertising Campaign of the Year award went to the New Zealand ad agency Colenso BBDO for its New Zealand Breast Cancer for Skinfoods “The Cream That Gives You Wrinkles” campaign, photographed by Karsten Thormaehlen, and the Photography Magazine of the Year was awarded to the Spain-based EXIT Magazine, which was chosen over the British Journal of Photography, Aperture Magazine, Blow Photo and Camera Austria. The Lucie Foundation then paid tribute to photographers who have passed away this year, including Phil Stern, Michel du Cille, Harold Feinstein and Mary Ellen Mark.
Danny Lyon was given the Achievement in Documentary award, and photojournalist Stephanie Sinclair, who also founded the nonprofit Too Young to Wed, was given the Humanitarian Award for her work covering child marriages. Onstage, Sinclair remembered the moment when Desmond Tutu, inspired by her blunt portrayal of the lives of childbrides, asked his United Nations colleagues in a meeting when they were going to put an end to child marriage. “Everyone looked at each other,” Sinclair recounts, “and eventually they just said, ‘Now! Now, let’s end it now!'”
IPA’s Deeper Perspective Photographer of the Year award went to David Jay for his intimate portraits of severely injured war veterans, and the Moving Image Photographer of the Year was awarded to Kerry Payne Stailey for her project “Left Behind,” which followed the lives of the loved ones of those who’ve committed suicide (she dedicated the trophy to her father, who took his life in the ’90s). The Achievement in Sports award was passed on to Barton Silverman, the Curator/Exhibition of the Year went to Amanda Maddox for the Getty Museum’s “Josef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful” show, Aperture was awarded Book Publisher of the Year Classic for Tiny: Streetwise Revisited by Mary Ellen Mark, and Book Publisher of the Year Limited was handed to Ceiba for The Middle of Somewhere: Sam Harris.
The Lucies brought out Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills and Nash to present the Achievement in Music award to photographer and friend Henry Diltz. They reflected on the oddity of their positions, Nash having begun as a photographer before becoming a musician and Diltz getting his start as a musician prior to pursuing photography. Nash also recounted when Diltz shot the band’s first album cover, of the three men sitting on an old couch in front of an abandoned home. A few days later they decided on their band name, but realized they were sitting in the wrong order in Diltz’s photo. When they returned to the home to take a redo, the house and the couch were gone, “torn down to sticks,” they said. They liked the original photo enough to keep it, though it’s the only one of Nash, Stills and Crosby rather than the other way around.
The night finished with the Achievement in Fashion award, presented by Barney’s Creative Ambassador Simon Doonan and actress Fran Drescher, who handed off the Lucie to her friend, fashion and celebrity photographer Roxanne Lowit. “Thank you to the models who pulled me backstage when the big boys pushed me off the runway,” a soft-spoken Lowit said. “Love what you do and do what you love, because you do it better than anyone else.”