Winner of Prix Pictet for Sustainable Photography

prix pictet winner photo

You've seen the shortlist for this new global photography prize that focuses on sustainability. The award is sponsored by Pictet & Cie,a Swiss bank, in association with the Financial Times newspaper. Each year a different theme is the focus of the prize; this year's theme is water. The prize is $100,000 and the chance to work on a water-related project.

The mandate for the photographers is: "works that are of outstanding artistic merit that also communicate messages of urgent global significance." There were 18 finalists chosen from the 200 photographers from 43 countries.

The winning photo is by Benoit Aquin, a Canadian from Montreal, Quebec. His winning series was about the desertification in China and called The Chinese Dust Bowl. He says that it is "One of the greatest environmental disasters of our time: The Chinese 'Dust Bowl' is probably the largest conversion of productive land into sand anywhere in the world."

chinese dust bowl photo

The photographer explains: "The soil, once it is barren, is swept up by the wind into dust storms, battering the capital, Beijing, and then moving on to Korea and Japan. The most massive of the yellow clouds of dust make their way across the Pacific and reach North America. The loss of precious topsoil for Chinese agriculture ends up polluting both China’s cities and countries halfway around the world. "

Aquin said: "It is a compelling environmental manmade disaster and photographically an interesting journey. When I embarked on this trip I was convinced that I could make surreal images and at the same time raise awareness. This is about scarce water resources, desertification and ecological refugees in China." Prix Pictet

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