The Oscars of the still photography world, The Prix Pictet, is back on tour, presenting the shortlisted work of 2012’s theme Power, including overall winner Luc Delahaye.
The most prestigious photography prize in the world is heading to Turkey, via Budapest, exhibiting the work of the artists who made the cut for the award’s fourth cycle, Power.
Luc Delahaye's winning work
Luc Delahaye, the winner of the competition, was praised by panel judge, David King, ‘for the sheer artistic excellence, dramatic intensity and narrative power’, of his submission. Critics have said that it would seem as if Delahaye’s work has been chosen because of the ‘epic’ sense of struggling that his images convey, something that has been noted by followers of the awards.
Robert Adam's shortlisted 'Turning Back'.
Other photographers on display are veteran American documenter Robert Adams, whose images of deforestation in Oregon resemble that of a war torn landscape, Carl de Keyzer, who documented traditional coastal sea walls and linking them to future sea-level rise, and then the strking images of Daniel Beltra, whose images of the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico reveal the beauty within the horror of man’s mistakes.
Daniel Beltra shortlisted series 'Spill'
Highlighting these human errors and the need to ‘communicate important messages about global environmental issues’ has been the main focus of the organisers of the since 2007 but there is fear that the focus of the competition might be wavering slightly. This worry was brought about by Luc Delahye, the winner of the latest cycle, and the founder of the prize Stephen Barber, who said in the afterword of the book that accompanies the current theme that he wants the, ‘"mission" of the award to embrace not just “environment" but to pose, "more general questions of sustainability".
Joel Sternfield 'When It Changed'
A focus on ‘sustainability’ could be dangerous, seeing as the subject has lots of connotations and those that are not always related to the damage that man has done. This would be a blow to the original message that the Prix Pictet award was putting out there, raising environmental issues into the mainstream, and could see the awards take on a new direction.
Carl De Keyzer snapshot from England for his entry 'Moments Before the Flood'
So, will this prize lose its touch? Opting for more eye-friendly images to those of uncomfortable honesty? Another issue under-rug swept? Theme 5 will be announced later this year and then we’ll have some more answers.
For now, you can catch the current exhibition of Power at Istanbul Modern in Turkey.