The Prix Pictet is the worlds first prize dedicated to photography and sustainability. It has a unique mandate to use the power of photography to communicate vital messages to a global audience. The goal is to uncover art of the highest order, applied to confront the pressing social and environmental challenges of the new millennium.
As Kofi Annan, the Prix Pictets Honorary President says in his recent forward to Earth the book of the 2009 Prix Pictet, together, these photographs by the artists shortlisted for the Prix Pictet highlight the beauty of the earth we share. But they also expose the damage, deliberately or carelessly, we are inflicting on our own environment. So these images are a celebration and a reminder of the urgent need to change our ways.
Entry to the Prix Pictet is by nomination. There are currently over 130 nominators from five continents. The nominators for the Prix Pictet are a group of leading experts in the visual arts from around the world including directors or major museums and galleries as well as journalists, critics and distinguished experts in the fields of sustainability. For the third cycle of the Prize the Jury (comprising a group of seven) will be led by Professor Sir David King, Director of the Smith School of Sustainable Development, Oxford University and former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government. Following an assessment of the work in a gallery setting, the Jury selects the winner of the Prix Pictet who receives the prize of CHF100,000.
In addition to the prize, one of the shortlisted photographers is invited to complete the Prix Pictet Commission which involves the production a series of images based on a region where Pictet & Cie is supporting a sustainability programme.
The theme of the first cycle of Prix Pictet in 2008 was Water. It is, after all, through water that we are seeing the earliest and most devastating manifestations of the climate change.
For the second Prix Pictet in 2009 the theme of the award was Earth, which in this context refers to the planet and the soil beneath our feet, and to the marks that man makes on the face of the land.
The exhibition at the Musée dElysée
showcases the two winners of the Prix Pictet 2008 and 2009: Benoit Aquin, and Nadav Kander and the two commissioned photographers Munem Wasif and Ed Kashi. Presented together for the first time, this is an opportunity to see outstanding photographs by these internationally acclaimed photographers. Together, they present a powerful testament to the fragile state of our world.