Joel Sternfeld’s “9 December 2005, After the Conference” from his When It Changed series, taken at the 11th United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Montreal.
Back for its fourth go-round, the Prix Pictet today announced the twelve photographers shortlisted for the purse of 100,000 Swiss francs (approximately $103,000, at current exchange). The entry-by-nomination international photography competition sponsored by Swiss bank Pictet & Cie seeks to promote sustainability, and this year’s theme is power. Selected for the shortlist by a jury that includes art historian Michael Fried, photographer Mitch Epstein, and Victoria and Albert Museum director Martin Roth are: Robert Adams, Daniel Beltrá, Mohamed Bourouissa, Philippe Chancel, Edmund Clark, Carl De Keyzer, Luc Delahaye, Rena Effendi, Jacqueline Hassink, An-My Lê, Joel Sternfeld, and Guy Tillim.
The power-themed portfolios of the shortlisted photographers tackle subjects ranging from the aftermath of the Chernobyl (Effendi) and Fukushima (Chancel) disasters to training maneuvers at a Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (Lê). “Taken with a large format view camera, my black-and-white photographs have more to do with 19th century war photography—Roger Fenton’s troops camped in Crimea, Mathew Brady’s dead soldiers on the Civil War battlefield—than with the quick drawing spontaneous images of combat we are bombarded with nowadays,” notes Lê in her artist’s statement. Their work will be brought together for an exhibition set to open at London’s Saatchi Gallery following the award announcement on October 9 (Kofi Annan will once again do the honors). Previous winners of the Prix Pictet are Epstein, Nadav Kander, and Benoit Aquin.