The Prix Pictet has to be the most interesting photography prize going. Awarding a generous $105,000 to the winner, it is only the fourth year running for this international competition that focuses on sustainability and the environment.
Each year there is a theme; the first was water, the second was earth and third growth and this year's is power. Given the huge disparity between the haves and have-nots in the world today, it's an interesting choice. As the judges explained "Power embraces contradiction and paradox in equal measure".
The short list is out and once more, the 12 nominees from all over the world do not disappoint (although we would have liked a few more women contenders).
Philippe Chancel visited Fukushima after the Japanese tsunami and photographed the devastation in its path.
Luc Delhaye explains his work: "I try to put myself in situations that I feel have a certain relevance regarding what we call a shared destiny. The reality I’m interested in is that of people who struggle to act upon it as much as they are subject to it."
Robert Adams is concerned about the practice of clear cutting in forestry. He says that "More than ninety percent of the original forest in the American Northwest has been clear-cut at least once. The large stumps in these pictures are remnants of an ancient woods where trees commonly grow to be five hundred or more years old. The small stumps are what is left of a recently “harvested” industrial forest."
Guy Tilliim has been following the use and abuse of power in the Congo.
Rena Effendi, one of the two women contenders, has been focussing on still life images to portray the horror of the after effects of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.
Carl De Keyzer is examining the impact of rising sea levels on European coasts.
Other photographers nominated are: Daniel Beltrá, Edmund Clark, Mohamed Bourouissa, Jacqueline Hassink, An-My Lê, and Joel Sternfeld. The winner is announced October 9, 2012.