March 17th, 2011

Mitch Epstein Awarded $111K Prix Pictet

American photographer Mitch Epstein is the winner of the third annual Prix Pictet photography prize. Kofi Annan, Prix Pictet’s honorary president, announced the winner at a ceremony in Paris today. The award, which carries a 100,000 CHF ($111,298) prize, was created in 2008 by the Geneva-based private bank Pictet & Cie. It recognizes photographic work on the subject of sustainability.

Epstein was recognized for his project “American Power,” a series of photographs that consider the US energy infrastructure, including both the production and use of energy in the United States. In his artist’s statement, Epstein wrote of the project: “I photographed a consumerist society inured to the consequences of unbridled consumption. Many living in the shadows of power plants despaired their polluted water and air, but did not have the economic resources to relocate. Growth no longer meant progress, but self-destruction.”

The theme for this year’s prize was “Growth.” Themes for the two previous awards were “Water” and “Earth,” given to Benoit Aquin and Nadav Kander, respectively.

The shortlist for this year’s prize included Christian Als, Edward Burtynsky, Chris Jordan, Stéphane Couturier, Yeondoo Jung, Vera Lutter, Nyaba Leon Ouedraogo, Taryn Simon, Thomas Struth, Guy Tillim and Michael Wolf.

In addition to the Prix Pictet, Pictet & Cie also awards a commission to one of the shortlisted photographers, who is invited to travel to a region where the bank is supporting a sustainability project. Chris Jordan received the Growth commission and will travel to the Nakyprat Conservancy in Kenya, Africa.

The judges for this year’s prize were Professor Sir David King (Chair), Shahidul Alam, Peter Aspden, Michael Fried, Loa Haagen Pictet, Nadav Kander, Christine Loh, Fumio Nanjo.

A list of nominators can be found here.