The Prix Pictet photography award

THE prestigious Prix Pictet was inaugurated two years ago to honour outstanding photography that conveys important messages about global environmental issues. Last year's theme was water; this year it is earth, and the work of the 12 shortlisted photographers is showcased in the book Earth, published next month by teNeues (£45), with a foreword by Kofi Annan, honorary president of Prix Pictet.

Three examples are shown here. Edward Burtynsky's work is informed by the transformation of nature by colossal industrial processes, and exposes the detachment most of us have from them. His Quarries series of precisely framed photographs of mines, including this one in Portugal (far right), reveals the massive scale of these operations.

The landscapes Darren Almond calls Fullmoons (lower left) are from the Huangshan region of Anhui province in China, an area that inspired "shan shui" (the term translates as "mountain water") landscape painting. They get their eerie beauty from being shot as very long exposures, lit only by moonlight.

Tokyo-based Naoya Hatakeyama's Blast series (upper left) captures the moments following blasting in limestone quarries in Japan, using a high-speed remote-controlled camera. Hatakeyama examines the past, present and future of the city and its relationship with nature. The thread running through his work is building materials - from raw materials via processing to construction and ultimately demolition.


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