Photographer Mitch Epstein wins Prix Pictet for energy photos

Amos Coal Power Plant, Raymond, West Virginia, 2004. From photographer MItch Epstein's "American Power" series.

Kofi Annan, Honorary President of the Prix Pictet, has announced that the winner of the third annual Prix Pictet photography prize for environmental sustainability is Mitch Epstein for his series American Power.

According to Epstein’s website, the series “examines how energy is produced and used in the American landscape. Made on forays to energy production sites and their environs, these pictures question the power of nature, government, corporations, and mass consumption in the United States.”

Started in 2008, the Prix Pictet is sponsored by the Swiss bank Pictet & Cie and offers a $100,000 prize. The mission for awarding the prize is a search for photographs that communicate powerful messages of global environmental significance under a specific theme. This year’s theme, the third, was “Growth.”

In presenting the award to Mitch Epstein, Kofi Annan said, “It is difficult to look at this exhibition without being moved, even angered. And yet, however bleak their message, the creativity and spirit of these artists also gives us hope that we, the human race, have the capacity to find, to agree and to realise the answers to these challenges.”

In addition to awarding Epstein, Pictet awards a commission for one of the shortlisted photographers to travel to a region where Pictet is supporting a sustainability project. This year’s Commission recipient was Chris Jordan, who received $40,000 to travel to Kenya and explore the Nakuprat Conservancy, a Kenyan community conservancy project of the UK-based charity Tusk Trust.

You can view past winners of the Prix Pictet on their website.  To view Mitch Epstein’s American Power series, visit his website or see a slideshow of photographs from The Guardian.

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