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Daniel Beltrá: Oil Spill #4 Oil mixed with dispersant rises up to the surface near one of the relief wells. May 18, 2010, Gulf of Mexico. Series: Spill © Daniel Beltrá, Prix Pictet Ltd (detail)

Work / Photography

Photography Prix Pictet shortlist has been announced, this years theme: Power

The Rencontres d’Arles festival, a definite stop-off place for those with an eye out for the truly new and extraordinary in the photographic world, has just announced the shortlist for the fourth Prix Pictet.

With the singularly compelling subject of Power, the 12 shortlisted photographers from ten countries present a true spectrum of unique perspectives. From the veteran lenses of Joel Sternfeld, whose images capture “moments of horror” on the faces of attendees to the 11 United Nations Conference on Climate Change as they hear about ecological collapse, to Robert Adams – the oldest nominee – whose documentations of deforestation in the American Northwest are as terrible as they are moving.

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Guy Tillim: Presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba enters a stadium in central Kinshasa flanked by his bodyguards during an election rally July 2006, Kinshasa, DRC Series: Congo Democratic © Guy Tillim, Prix Pictet Ltd

Also covering human power-play on the environment is Daniel Beltrá with his vivid, false colour photos of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The reclaiming of destroyed, deserted, demilitarised space by nature is portrayed through disparate but affecting scenes in Chernobyl (Rena Effendi), abandoned “defences” in European waters (Carl De Keyzer) and in the disturbed landscape of Fukushima (Philippe Chancel).

The complexities of the subject have also been interpreted in straightforward terms of loss and gain – with documents of conflict and the consequences thereof depicted in contrasting realities. From board rooms to battle grounds (Luc Delahaye and An-My Lê notably), ghostly spaces used for incarceration (Edmund Clark) to the fight, political and physical, over territory (Mohamad Bourouissa and Guy Tillim) – all of which represent something we identify as a direct assertion of power.

The winner will be announced in October and an exhibition of all shortlisted photographers hosted by the Saatchi Gallery in London.

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Joel Sternfeld: Stéphane Dion, Minister of the Environment, Canada 28 November – 9 December 2005, Montréal. Series: When It Changed: Photographs from the 11th United Nations Conference on Climate Change © Joel Sternfeld, Prix Pictet Ltd

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Rena Effendi: Birch tree growing through the floor of an abandoned GYM in the ghost town of Pripyat. Following the radioactive fallout after the nuclear accident the entire population of Prypiats had been evacuated and never returned home. December 2010, Chernobyl. Ukraine. Series: Still Life in the Zone © Rena Effendi, Prix Pictet Ltd

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Jacqueline Hassink: Elham M. Zeadat General Manager and Owner of BLOOM Dead Sea Gift Enterprise. 11 February 2005, Amman, Jordan Series: Arab Domains © Jacqueline Hassink, Prix Pictet Ltd

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Carl De Keyzer: England 2009. Series: Moments Before the FloodMedium: Digital print
© Carl De Keyzer, Prix Pictet Ltd

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Luc Delahaye: Les Pillards, January 17, 2010, Port-au-Prince, Haiti © Luc Delahaye, Prix Pictet Ltd Courtesy Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels

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Edmund Clark: Camp One, exercise cage. Series: Guantanamo: If the Light Goes Out © Edmund Clark, Prix Pictet Ltd

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Mohamed Bourouissa: La Republique 2006, Paris. Series: Périphérique © Mohamed Bourouissa, Prix Pictet Ltd

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Robert Adams: Near Clatskanie, Columbia County, Oregon 1999. Series: Turning Back ©Robert Adams, Prix Pictet Ltd

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Guy Tillim: The statue of the explorer Henry Morton Stanley which overlooked Kinshasa in colonial times. It rests on a steamboat that belonged to the African International Association, a company publicly charged by Leopold II with a philanthropic and ‘civilising’ mission that veiled its true purpose of annexing and exploiting natural resources. The statue was removed during the Mobutu period of Africanisation in the 1970s and dumped in a government transport lot in Kinshasa September 2003, Kinshasa, DRC. Series: Congo Democratic © Guy Tillim, Prix Pictet Ltd

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An-My Lê: Embassy Medevac 2003-04, Twentynine Palms, California Series: 29 Palms © An-My Lê, Prix Pictet Ltd