After 18 months on the road, the Prix Pictet Fire, the ninth cycle of the Prix Pictet photography prize arrived at the Fotografiska Museum in New York for its final destination. Today’s edition is entirely dedicated to the extensive exhibition and the body of work of the 13 photographers presented, headlined by the winner of the prix Pictet : Sally Mann.
With our thanks to Isabelle von Ribbentrop, Michael Benson, Fariba Farshad and the Candlestar team for their collaboration in the creation of today’s edition.
Speaking of the theme, Executive Director of the Prix Pictet Isabelle von Ribbentrop commented: “I like to think about photography for the future, instead of the future of photography. The power of the image lies in its ability to foreground critical and urgent environmental issues in a visually impactful yet direct way. With every cycle, we see innovative ideas, narrative approaches as well as technical experimentations. It is extremely exciting to work with forward-looking creatives, who are not just passionate about their medium but about leaving a positive legacy in our world. For us at the Prix Pictet, we are committed to our goal of changing and shaping our future planet for the better, through harnessing the power of photography.”
Founded by the Pictet Group in 2008, the award is recognized as the world’s leading prize for photography. On an approximately 18-month cycle, each theme aims to provoke discussion and debate on issues of sustainability. The prize of 100,000 Swiss francs is awarded for a body of work that addresses most powerfully the theme of the award.
The shortlisted works of each cycle have been shown in exhibitions in many major cities around the world, including Gallery of Photography, Dublin; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Musée de l’Elysées, Lausanne; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, Thessaloniki; and LUMA Westbau, Zurich among others.
The exhibition presents work by 13 photographers from Austria, Belgium, Benin, Cambodia, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Switzerland, and USA who are shortlisted for this year’s prize. Prix Pictet aims to harness the power of photography encompassing all genres to draw global attention to issues of sustainability, and especially those concerning the environment.
Fire has hardly been out of the news since the inferno that consumed Notre Dame in Paris in early 2019, with record rainforest blazes in the Amazon, forest and bush fires in Australia and conflagrations in California among many other ecological disasters. The bodies of work shortlisted for Prix Pictet Fire draw their inspiration from both major global events and personal experiences. The photographic images span documentary, portraiture, landscape, collage and studies of light and process.
American photographer Sally Mann took the prize in 2021 for her series Blackwater (2008-2012), a multifaceted exploration of the devastating wildfires that enveloped the Great Dismal Swamp in southeastern Virginia, where the first slave ships docked in America.
Fire also features work by other established photographers including Rinko Kawauchi who photographed firework displays throughout Japan every summer from 1997-2001 and Mak Remissa whose series Left 3 Days recalls deeply personal memories during the Khmer Rouge occupation of Phnom Penh. They are joined by young and emerging names in photography, including David Uzochukwu, whose portraiture series In The Wake is set within an unknown landscape on fire, and Daisuke Yokota, whose series Matter / Burn Out explores the act of reconstructing meaning and value through the act of burning his own masterpiece Matter after its exhibition in China, documenting the process in 4,000 photographs whereby the data was processed, manipulated and revived to form a brand new work.
The shortlisted photographers for the ninth cycle of Fire are:
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, born 1969 Beirut, based in France and Lebanon
Rinko Kawauchi, born 1972 Japan, based in Japan
Sally Mann, born 1951 USA, based in USA
Christian Marclay, born 1955 USA, based in UK
Fabrice Monteiro, born 1972 Belgium, based in Senegal
Lisa Oppenheim, born 1975 USA, based in USA
Mak Remissa, born 1970 Cambodia, based in Phnom Penh
Carla Rippey, born 1950 USA, based in Mexico City
Mark Ruwedel, born 1954 USA, based in USA
Brent Stirton, born 1969 South Africa, based in USA
David Uzochukwu, born 1998 Austria, based in Germany / Belgium
Daisuke Yokota, born 1983 Japan, based in Japan
The Prix Pictet is accompanied by a full-colour book published by teNeues, covering in detail the work of the shortlisted photographers, together with selected images from the wider group of nominees, and essays on the theme of the prize by leading thinkers and writers.
Prix Pictet Fire
May 26 – October 15, 2023
Fotografiska Museum New York
281 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010