In November, one photographer will win the Prix Pictet, and be granted 100,000 Swiss francs (Dh370,000) as part of the honour. Now in its eighth year, the prize is widely considered the most prestigious award in the world of photography.
The prize runs on an 18 month cycle, and so is awarded every year and a half. The theme of this year's competition is 'Hope'.
The Prix Pictet's Honorary Founding President Kofi Annan died last year, but his passions have propelled this year's theme, and his words on the topic are being lauded as inspiration for the judges: “Perhaps in our ability to carry on in adversity lies hope for us all. Hope that, despite the catastrophic damage that we have visited upon the natural world and upon the lives our most vulnerable citizens, it is not too late to reverse the damage that we have done.”
The photographer whose work speaks most powerfully to the theme will win the prize. This year's shortlist is made up of twelve photographers from eight countries and four continents:
Shahidul Alam: born 1955 Bangladesh, based in Dhaka
Joana Choumali: born 1974 Côte d'Ivoire, based in Abidjan
Margaret Courtney-Clarke: born 1949 Namibia, based in Swakopmund
Rena Effendi: born 1977 Baku, based in Istanbul
Lucas Foglia: born 1983 USA, based in San Francisco
Janelle Lynch: born 1969 USA, based in New York
Ross McDonnell: born 1979 Ireland, based in New York
Gideon Mendel: born 1959 South Africa, based in London
Ivor Prickett: born 1983 Ireland, based in Europe and the Middle East
After the winner is announced, the photographs will tour a dozen countries around the globe, beginning at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.