Photographer Gauri Gill has won the 10th Annual Prix Pictet Photography and Sustainability Award, taking home the massive prize of 100,000 Swiss Francs (about $109,219), one of the largest if not the largest sums for a photo award in the world.
The Prix Pictet is described as the world’s leading award for photography and sustainability. It was founded in 2008 by the Pictet Group — a Swiss multinational private bank and financial services company — with the goal of harnessing the power of photography to draw global attention to critical environmental issues.
Not everyone can enter the competition, as entry is only allowed through nomination through Prix Pictet’s global network of over 300 nominators which includes critics, curators, and other specialists in the visual arts. Nominators are asked to recommend portfolios that have the power and artistic quality demanded by the prize. Since it was founded, the organization says that more than 5,000 photographers have been nominated, “all of whose work in one way or another testifies to the fragile state of our planet.”
Once the nominees have been collected, an independent jury shortlists those who are considered artistically outstanding and also tell a compelling narrative that is related to the theme of the year. From that shortlist, the jury selects a winner who is awarded the 100,000 Swiss Francs.
This year’s winner is Gauri Gill, an Indian photographer who was selected from the short list of 12 photographers for her series Notes from the Desert.
“On my many visits to rural Rajasthan, I have witnessed a complex reality I knew nothing about as a city dweller. To live poor and landless in the desert amounts to an inescapable reliance on oneself, on each other, and on nature,” Gill says of her series.
“These fragments of shared experience now inhabit a large photographic archive called Notes from the Desert, encompassing different narratives and varied forms of image taking.”
“In a world facing unprecedented challenges, from social inequality to environmental crises, it was crucial to turn the lens towards humanity itself. The theme Human provides a platform to explore the complexities, vulnerabilities, and strengths of the human condition. It allows the artists to capture and communicate the stories, struggles and triumphs of individuals and communities around the globe,” Executive Director of Prix Pictet, Isabelle von Ribbentrop, says.
“Through this theme, Prix Pictet aims to foster a deeper understanding of our shared humanity and inspire meaningful conversations about the issues that impact us all. Especially when thinking about the theme Human, I strongly believe that instead of the future of photography, we should think about photography of the future. The power of the image lies in its ability to foreground critical and urgent environmental issues in a visually impactful yet direct way.”
Gill’s winning series along with a selection of images from each shortlisted artist’s portfolio will tour up to a dozen locations worldwide. A full list of all events and exhibitions is listed on the Prix Pictet website. All of Gill’s photos as well as all of the shortlisted images can be perused in the Human gallery.
Image credits: All photos by Gauri Gill and provided courtesy of Prix Pictet