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“Hope” for top photography prize

The shortlist of twelve photographers selected for the Prix Pictet, the global award in photography and sustainability, was announced last week at the opening of Les Rencontres d’Arles International Photography Festival.

All images represent this year’s theme of “hope”. The winner will be announced on Wednesday 13 November 2019, when an exhibition of work by the twelve shortlisted photographers opens at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Lucas-Foglia-Human-Nature-Esme-Swimming (1)

Lucas Foglia: Human Nature, Esme Swimming

The artists shortlisted are Shahidul Alam (Bangladesh), Joana Choumali (Côte d’Ivoire), Margaret Courtney-Clarke (Namibia), Rena Effendi (Azerbaijan), Lucas Foglia (United States), Janelle Lynch (United States), Ross McDonnell (Ireland), Gideon Mendel (South Africa), Ivor Prickett (Ireland), Robin Rhode (South Africa), Awoiska van der Molen (Netherlands), Alexia Webster (South Africa).

Kofi Annan, (1938-2018) Honorary Founding President of Prix Pictet, said:

Perhaps in our ability to carry on in adversity lies hope for us all. Hope that, despite the catastrophic damage that we have visited upon the natural world and upon the lives our most vulnerable citizens, it is not too late to reverse the damage that we have done.


Robin Rhode: Principle of Hope

Now in its eighth cycle, the Prix Pictet was founded in 2008. Today, it is recognised as the world’s leading prize for photography. On an 18 month cycle the award focuses on a theme that promotes discussion and debate on issues of sustainability.

A prize of 100,000 Swiss francs (£81,000) will be awarded for the body of work that speaks most powerfully to the theme of “Hope”. The works will be judged by a jury of influential figures from the art world, including Jeff Rosenheim, Curator in Charge of the Metropolitan Museum’s Department of Photographs and Jan Dalley, Arts Editor for the Financial Times.

The Prix Pictet is also published in book form, with extensive documentation of the work of each of the shortlisted photographers together with images from the wider group of nominees and essays by leading writers on the theme of the prize.

Testament to Faded Memory

Gideon Mendel: A Testament of Faded Memory

Sir David King, Chair of the Prix Pictet jury, said:

In selecting the shortlist for this year’s Prix Pictet, we were mindful of the debt of gratitude we owe to the inspirational role of Kofi Annan, as our Founding President. Hope, the theme of this year’s Prix Pictet, addresses his personal concerns directly. We believe more than ever, in a world saturated with images, that the profound insights of great photographers can help to bring home to us all the urgency of the environmental issues we are now facing.

A tour of the work to over a dozen countries will begin in Tokyo on 12 December 2019.

Main image: Life is Them, Margaret Courtney Clarke