Richard Mosse was this evening (Thursday 4 May 2017) announced as winner of the seventh Prix Pictet, Space, selected from a shortlist of twelve. Mosse was chosen for his series Heat Maps 2016-17. The prize, with a value of 100,000 Swiss Francs, is sponsored by Swiss wealth and asset managers, the Pictet Group.
Kofi Annan, Honorary President of Prix Pictet, announced the prize at a reception for the opening of an exhibition of the work of the twelve shortlisted photographers at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, which opens to the public on 6 May and continues until 28 May 2017.
Richard Mosse’s Heat Maps series documents refugee camps using a military grade thermal camera that can detect body heat from a distance of 30.3 km. The series focuses on the journey of migrants across Europe, the Middle East and north Africa. Mosse has used the camera to scan the sites, creating densely detailed panoramic thermal images, tracing each camp’s perimeter and the anthropology of life within.
Richard Mosse was born in Ireland in 1980 and received his MFA in Photography from Yale University in 2008. His work has been exhibited in major museums and galleries worldwide. His latest series, Heat Maps, was exhibited at the Barbican, London, in February 2017.
Speaking at the ceremony, Kofi Annan said: ‘Whether they focus on our cities; on the oceans, borders and barricades; on outer space or on the humanitarian crises unfolding across Europe; each of the photographers shortlisted for this cycle of the awards address their subject with a brilliant singularity of vision.
“Again and again they present us with visions of people carrying on against what are frequently dreadful odds.
“Perhaps in this there is hope. Hope that, despite the catastrophic damage that we have visited on the natural world and on the lives of our most vulnerable fellow citizens, it is not too late for us to reverse the damage we have done – to allow each other the space to think again.
“For all the havoc they portray, the artists shortlisted for Space have shone a light on this possibility. We would be foolish to ignore their messages.”
Speaking on behalf of the Jury, Sir David King, Chair of the Judges, said: “Our task as the Jury was as demanding as I have ever known, because of the outstanding quality of the work submitted for the Prix Pictet shortlist. It was only after a long and lively debate that we arrived at the decision to award the 7th Prix Pictet to Richard Mosse for his 'Heat Maps' series. It is a brilliantly original and topical narrative on the fragile lives of displaced people, who cling to existence in the margins of first world economies.”
The twelve shortlisted photographers were Mandy Barker [b. 1964, UK] based in Leeds,Saskia Groneberg [b. 1985, Germany] based in Munich, Beate Guetschow [b. 1970, Germany] based in Berlin and Cologne, Rinko Kawauchi [b. 1972, Japan] based in Tokyo, Benny Lam [b. 1967, Hong Kong] living and working in Hong Kong, Richard Mosse [b. 1980, Ireland] based in New York City and Ireland, Sohei Nishino [b. 1982, Japan] based in Tokyo,Sergey Ponomarev [b. 1980, Russia] based in Moscow, Thomas Ruff [b. 1958, Germany] based in Düsseldorf, Munem Wasif [b. 1983, Bangladesh] based in Dhaka, Pavel Wolberg [b. 1966, Russia] based in Tel Aviv, and Michael Wolf [b. 1954, Germany] based in Hong Kong.
Founded in 2008 by the Pictet Group in Geneva, Switzerland, the Prix Pictet is established as the world’s leading award for photography and sustainability. It has reached an audience of over 400 million people worldwide through over 80 exhibitions in 54 different cities. To date there have been seven cycles of the award, each of which has highlighted a particular facet of sustainability. The seven themes are: Water, Earth, Growth, Power, Consumption, Disorder and Space. A book has been published on each of the themes showcasing the work of the shortlisted photographers. The six previous Prix Pictet laureates are, in order: Benoit Aquin, Nadav Kander, Mitch Epstein, Luc Delahaye, Michael Schmidt and Valérie Belin.