The Hasselblad award was presented for the first time on Tuesday 18 November 1980. The award winner, Lennart Nilsson, Stockholm, Sweden, received the award from the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation, Chief District Court Justice Einar Josefson at a ceremony at Victor Hasselblad AB. The award sum was SEK100,000.
No citation was made in 1980. A summary of the press release follows:
Lennart Nilsson was one of Sweden's foremost photojournalists long before he gained fame as a scientific photographer. His work has moved towards more detailed studies of the basics: nature and the human body. To extend the scope of the human eye to inside the human body, Lennart Nilsson works with powerful enlarging instruments such as scanning electron microscopes and specially designed, very slim endoscopes. He has described how a new human life develops, as well as some of our most frightening enemies, such as the cancer cell and the malaria virus. His work evinces a combination of great artistic talent, biological knowledge and technical skill.