Les Pillards, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 17, 2010 by Luc Delahaye
Les Pillards, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 17, 2010 by Luc Delahaye

Phaidon photographer Luc Delahaye wins the Prix Pictet 2012

The French former photojournalist's diverse submission scoops the international photography award

Congratulations to Phaidon author Luc Delahaye, who won the Prix Pictet photography prize last night. The French photographer received his £65,000 award from Norman Foster at a prize-giving ceremony at London's Saatchi Gallery.

The Prix Pictet, now in its fourth year, recognises "outstanding photography applied to confront the most pressing social and environmental challenges today". Its perennial focus is broadly environmental, while this year theme was power. High art, contemporary reportage, and the didactic presentation of widely acknowledged virtues, don't sit together easily.

However, Delahaye, a former Magnum photojournalist who has gone on to show his worldly photographs in a fine-art setting, manages to balance advocacy and art. Most commentators remarked on the diversity of his images; other short-listed photographers tended to focus on a single subject, while Delahaye's images varied, from frenetic OPEC meetings, through to war-torn Libya, via the survivors of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

 

132nd Ordinary Meeting of the Conference; OPEC headquarters, Vienna, 15 September 2004 by Luc Delahaye
132nd Ordinary Meeting of the Conference; OPEC headquarters, Vienna, 15 September 2004 by Luc Delahaye

 

In today's Financial Times one of the prize's judges, Jan Dalley, wrote: "to say that everyone of these intensely powerful yet lyrical pictures contains an urgent narrative might itself be a cliché, but it is nonetheless true." Follow the stories yourself at London's Saatchi Gallery, where Delahaye's winning selection will be on show, alongside the other short listed photographer's submissions, until October 28. Luc Delahaye's Winterreise is a photographic documentation of a journey he took across Russia. The photographs are poetic - simultaneously terrifying, exciting, intimate, moving and very revealing. They offer many pleasures despite the depressing subject matter of a nation falling to pieces, in winter, through alcohol and drug abuse.