Prix Pictet: Global award in photography and sustainability
Founded in 2008 by Pictet, the Prix Pictet has become the world’s leading award for photography and sustainability. To date, there have been ten cycles of the award, each of which has highlighted a particular facet of sustainability.
Cycles of the Prix Pictet
"Water" exposes early, disastrous climate change effects. These include food supply risks, health concerns and fragile ecosystem disruption, all of which jeopardise the land we live on and threaten peace and security. Our actions today will determine the future of this essential resource.
"Earth" means our planet, its soil and the marks left on the land – directly from mines, toxic waste, urban wastelands, refuse dumps and barren deserts; or indirectly from fire, flood, famine scars, natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, volcanoes or the migration of displaced peoples.
"Growth" is a double-edged sword and poses a major dilemma for humanity in the 21st century. Despite improving living standards and health worldwide, growth's impact on urban expansion, resource dependency, population increase and environmental consequences is a cause for concern.
"Power", a compelling and paradoxical theme, embodies both hope and despair. Its importance lies in encouraging introspection on how it shapes society, influences individuals and drives change. Exploring this theme through photography unveils unique perspectives on the diverse implications of power in our world.
"Consumption", a multifaceted theme, reflects our insatiable desires. In inventing new forms of building, industrial production, farming and energy, we exploit Earth's resources and its people. We create empires based on luxury goods, emphasising our thoughtless exploitation.
With “Disorder”, Prix Pictet Chairman Stephen Barber noted that the natural world delicately balances order and disorder. Humanity must be aware of how our actions disrupt this equilibrium. Kofi Annan emphasised the consequences of our carbon-based addiction and the illusion of order we attempt to impose.
"Space" covers diverse subjects like overpopulation, territorial disputes, pollution, cyberspace, natural disasters and wilderness preservation. The Prix Pictet prompted exceptional creativity and a wide range of photographer responses to the theme.
In the midst of adversity we see “Hope” in recycling, reforestation, rewilding, scientific advances and technological solutions. Despite the media’s negative focus, positive sustainability actions do emerge. Our resilience in adversity may be the hope for reversing our environmental damage.
Prix Pictet Chairman Stephen Barber Stephen Barber highlights "Fire" as a timely theme. With recent events like the Notre Dame inferno, Amazon rainforest fires and Australian bushfires, “Fire” represents both destruction and renewal. Misuse of this volatile element lies at the root of our environmental challenges.
"Human" explores issues around indigenous peoples, conflict, childhood, economic collapse, human footprints, gang violence, borderlands and migration. In a world grappling with unprecedented challenges, it was vital to focus on humanity, highlighting its complexities, vulnerabilities and strengths.
Isabelle von Ribbentrop