The French photographer Luc Delahaye was this evening [Tuesday 9 October] announced as winner of the fourth Prix Pictet
photography prize, selected from a shortlist of twelve. The winner was chosen for his 10-image submission responding to the theme of Power, drawn from an outstanding body of work produced over the past decade. The prize, with a value of 100,000 Swiss Francs (100,000 dollars, £65,000, 80,000), is sponsored by the Swiss private bank, Pictet & Cie.
Lord Foster of Thames Bank OM, guest of honour, announced the prize at a reception for the opening of Power, an exhibition of the work of the twelve shortlisted photographers at the Saatchi Gallery in London, which opens to the public on Wednesday 10 October.
The Shortlist of twelve photographers comprised Robert Adams (United States), Daniel Beltrá (Spain/United States), Mohamed Bourouissa (Algeria.France), Philippe Chancel (France), Edmund Clark (United Kingdom), Carl De Keyzer (Belgium), Luc Delahaye (France), Rena Effendi (Azerbaijan), Jacqueline Hassink (The Netherlands), An-My Lê (Vietnam/United States), Joel Sternfeld (United States) and Guy Tillim (South Africa).
Jacques de Saussure, Senior Partner of Pictet & Cie, awarded the 40,000 Swiss Francs (40,000 dollars, £27,000, 30,000) Prix Pictet Commission to the UK photographer Simon Norfolk, who will undertake a field trip to Afghanistan where Pictet & Cie are supporting the work of Medair, the Swiss-based humanitarian organisation, in the forgotten region of Bamyan Province in Afghanistan.
This year, for the first time, the commissioned photographer was selected from outside the Shortlist of twelve, with the final decision made by the partners of Pictet & Cie, based on a broad list of recommendations by individual Jury members drawn from the entire nominations list of over 650 photographers.
The Prix Pictet has as its mission a search for photographs that communicate powerful messages of global significance under the broad subject of sustainability, with particular attention to environmental issues.
Speaking on behalf of the Jury, Sir David King, Chair of the Judges, said, This was an extremely close-run contest. There was real strength in each of the artists' portfolios that we reviewed. From Robert Adamss magnificent, lyrical essay on the notorious practice of clear cutting to Mohammed Bourouissas brilliantly successful evocation of the tensions that exist on the margins of our great cities, we were time and again faced with profound narratives of the environmental and social damage of which we are all capable. We were also deeply moved by Joel Sternfelds portrait of the despair so often felt by those charged with taking preventative measures. But ultimately the sheer artistic excellence, dramatic intensity and narrative power of Luc Delahayes photographs shone through. He is a very worthy winner of the fourth Prix Pictet.
In awarding the fourth Prix Pictet Commission, Jacques de Saussure said, He has been described as "the leading documentary photographer of our time" and, on behalf of the Partners of Pictet, I am delighted to be able to award the Commission project to Simon Norfolk. This is especially appropriate because for the Commission this year we will invite the chosen photographer to visit Afghanistan and Simons experience of working in the region makes him in many ways the ideal choice.
With each Prix Pictet award, Pictet supports a charity whose work reflects the theme of the prize in that cycle. Simon Norfolk will visit Afghanistan with the support of Medairs Afghan and international staff working on the ground. Active in Afghanistan since 1996, Medair helps communities survive such disasters as droughts, floods and landslides, but stays to teach and implement Disaster Risk Reduction strategies, such as flood prevention infrastructure, so that communities have the power to protect themselves from subsequent threats. The photographs produced for the Commission will be previewed at Les Rencontres d'Arles in July 2013 and will then be exhibited in London.