Sally Mann wins Prix Pictet ‘Fire’: World’s top photography prize

Prize-winning series explores the devastating wildfires in the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia

Photographer Sally Mann has been announced the winner of the ninth cycle of the Prix Pictet, the global award in photography and sustainability, on the theme of ‘Fire’.

For her series Blackwater, Mann explored the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia, a dangerous terrain slithering with snakes, predators, insects and heavy foliage, that many escaped slaves travelled through towards freedom. Mann documented the vast fires and thick smoke that consumed the swamp during her visit and which seemed to epitomise the great fire of racial strife in America.

The announcement was made at a ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on Wednesday 15 December 2021, marking the opening of a major exhibition showcasing the twelve series of powerful photographs shortlisted for the prize. The shortlisted bodies of work all explore the topical theme of ‘Fire’, which has been the focus of this cycle of the award.

    “In the twelve years since we launched the award, two of the greatest threats to life on the planet—excess resource depletion and damaging climate change—have only intensified.”

    Renaud de Planta Senior Partner of the Pictet Group
    © Sally Mann: Blackwater 32 - Blackwater series 2008-2012

    The shortlisted photographers for Prix Pictet ‘Fire’ are:

    • Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, live and work in France 
    • Rinko Kawauchi, lives and works in Japan
    • Sally Mann, lives and works in the USA
    • Christian Marclay, lives and works in the United Kingdom
    • Fabrice Monteiro, lives and works in Senegal
    • Lisa Oppenheim, lives and works in the USA
    • Mak Remissa, lives and works in Cambodia
    • Carla Rippey, lives and works in Mexico 
    • Mark Ruwedel, lives and works in the USA
    • Brent Stirton, lives and works in the USA
    • David Uzochukwu, lives and works in the USA and Belgium
    • Daisuke Yokota, lives and works in Japan

    Prix Pictet Podcast Season 3: Power

    The announcement of ‘Fire’ also launched the release of the third series of the Prix Pictet podcast A Lens on Sustainability, which is released today, brings together global creators, thinkers and photographers to discuss photography and sustainability. Collaborators and guest speakers this season include Taryn Simon, Peter Frankopan, Brent Stirton, and Herminia Ibarra, among others.

    Joana Choumali wins 8th cycle of the Prix Pictet

    Joana Choumali is the winner of the eighth cycle of the Prix Pictet, the global award in photography and sustainability, with a theme of Hope. The announcement was made at a ceremony at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London on Wednesday 13 November 2019 at the opening of an exhibition of the work of the twelve shortlisted photographers.

    Winner biography and photographs

    In a statement on behalf of the Prix Pictet Jury, Sir David King, Chairman of the Jury, said: “We were inspired by the words of our founding President, the late Kofi Annan, who in his final Prix Pictet address spoke of mankind’s potential to find hope in adversity, and of his profound hope that it was not too late to reverse the catastrophic damage that we have visited on the natural world and its most vulnerable inhabitants. Let’s be under no illusion that in these past two years the crisis we are facing has deepened. Yet hope remains, albeit fragile and elusive. The work of the twelve shortlisted photographers underlines the great hope of the Prix Pictet—the wager that we all make with the future, that art can inspire action and triumph where words alone have failed.”

    Find out more on Prix Pictet website


    Global award in photography and sustainability

    In 2008, the partners of the Pictet Group created the Prix Pictet prize to draw worldwide attention to and stimulate action on issues of sustainability through the medium of photography.

    Since foundation, the Prix Pictet has focused on environmental themes: there have been seven, beginning with Water, followed by Earth, Growth, Power, Consumption, Disorder, Space and Hope.

    “It is my hope that the Prix Pictet will help to deepen understanding of the changes taking place in our world and raise public awareness about the urgency of taking preventative action.”

    Kofi Annan (1938-2018) Former Honorary President, Prix Pictet

    A tribute to Kofi Annan
    By Stephen Barber, Chairman, Prix Pictet


    Find out more

    Visit Prix Pictet website for more information on the Global award in photography and sustainability.