The exhibition of work by the artists shortlisted for Prix Pictet Power will be at the Saatchi Gallery, London from 10 – 28 October 2012. On 9 October there will be an Awards Ceremony with Kofi Annan, Honorary President of the Prix Pictet, at which the winner of the award will be announced.
Just over a week ago Nadav Kander was named as winner of the excellent 2009 Prix Pictet, the prize given to photography on the theme of environmental sustainability. Last year’s shortlist, which included Benoit Aquin, Edward Burtynsky, David Maisel and others, produced a really astonishing collection of images on the theme of Water; it showed how powerful photography can still be when it inhabits the zone between art and documentary.
This year the theme, Earth, produced equally sock-knocking results; Britain’s Nadav Kander was up against Darren Almond, Edward Burtynsky (again) and Andreas Gursky and others. I’ve blogged about the brilliant shortlist previously.
Maybe because they’re part documentarists, there’s something very pithy about photographer’s artists’ statements that I really like. Here’s part of Kander’s artists’ statement about the whole Yangtze, The Long River project:
The Yangtze River, which forms the premise to this body of work, is the main artery that flows 4100miles (6500km) across China, travelling from its furthest westerly point in Qinghai Province to Shanghai in the east. The river is embedded in the consciousness of the Chinese, even for those who live thousands of miles from the river. It plays a significant role in both the spiritual and physical life of the people.
More people live along its banks than live in the USA, one in every eighteen people on the planet.
Using the river as a metaphor for constant change, I have photographed the landscape and people along its banks from mouth to source.
Importantly for me I worked intuitively, trying not to be influenced by what I already knew about the country. I wanted to respond to what I found and felt and to seek out the iconography that allowed me to frame views that make the images unique to me.
After several trips to different parts of the river, it became clear that what I was responding to and how I felt whilst being in China was permeating into my pictures; a formalness and unease, a country that feels both at the beginning of a new era and at odds with itself. China is a nation that appears to be severing its roots by destroying its past in the wake of the sheer force of its moving “forward” at such an astounding and unnatural pace. A people scarring their country and a country scarring its people…
Sammy Baloiji is one of twelve photographers shortlisted for the 2009 Prix Pictet, a prize for photography about sustainability. The premise behind his series is simple – to superimpose photographs from the Congo’s colonial past over modern photographs of the consequences of that history. The Congo has been well and truly raped for minerals and other resources over the last century; for that see Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost. Also this blog post about Mongrel’s Tantalum Memorial.
The theme for the 2009 Prix Pictet was “Earth”. The 2009 shortlist is really phenomenal and includes work from the great Darren Almond, Yao Lu’s remarkable Chinese landscapes constructed from rubbish won the 2008 Paris Photo Prize, Edward Burtynsky’s scary/beautiful quarry photographs, and this series, again from quarries, from Naoya Hatakeyama:
Blast #5707 by Naoya Hatakeyama, 1998 Japan