courtesy Simon Lehner
courtesy Simon Lehner
Laureate Carte Blanche Etudiants 2018

Simon Lehner

Winner of the Maison Ruinart Prize

How far is a lightyear?

“How far is a lightyear?” investigates fatherhood, love and the development of identity through family. We follow the viewpoint of a boy who resembles the state of balancing two conflicting sides, while being stuck in the firing line of a bad love story, between unstableness and ignition. The title stems from a question I asked my father when I was a kid and the time that has passed since he left my family but is also a reference to the medium of photography. The series uses 3D Scans/Renderings consisting of the only images I took and have of my father dating back to 2005, indicating emotional and physical distance. Through this method I now have the chance to reconstruct him and make my father tangible with the imagery I have left as I try to make a portrait without physical contact. Approximately 12299e14 kilometers of traveled light since I pressed the shutter of the camera in 2005. Incorporated in the 3D scans are childhood drawings, memories and fantasies which hint at fears and dreams as a kid, the longing for a father but simultaneously resentment due to his actions. As children we try to imitate certain characteristics of parents and some are anchored in our DNA. Stem cells depicted in the state before flourishing to any cell type if manipulated, reference the different developments of a child when influenced and also shows my contrasted search on which attributes and characteristics I have from each side of my parents.


Simon Lehner was born in Wels, Austria in 1996. He is currently studying Photography at the University of applied Arts in Vienna, Austria and is represented by the Agency Anzenberger. In 2017 he published his first photo-book "Jaga" with the publisher Fotohof edition wich was shown at: Les Rencontres d‘ Arles, Arles, Paris-Photo, Kassel Photobook festival and featured in die Zeit, Vice Magazine and more. With his ongoing book-project "Men don't play / Men do play" he was shortlisted for the Unseen Dummy Award, Amsterdam in 2017, wich was exhibited at Unseen Amsterdam. Simon Lehner’s work comes from personal experiences as it explores the relationship of direct observation, performance, human evolution and its transformation onto psychology, and sociology. Searching for mental structures and patterns of behavior as he embeds himself into the series to tackle a bigger subject matter and create a deeper, more personal viewpoint.

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