Louis Roederer names winner of Photography Prize for Sustainability 2023
Documentary photographer M’Hammed Kilito has won the second edition of Champagne House Louis Roederer’s Photography Prize for Sustainability.
This year’s theme, ‘Flow’, was chosen to represent the dynamic between nature and people and the tension existing between the two.
M’Hammed Kilito is a documentary photographer and a National Geographic explorer based in Casablanca, Morocco. His work focuses on issues relating to cultural identity, the sociology of work, and climate change through representations of people and their environments.
Kilito was awarded the prize this year for his series entitled ‘Before Its Gone’ — a long-term project that documents life in oases with a focus on oasis degradation in Morocco and its impact on inhabitants.
Desertification, recurrent droughts and fires, changes in agricultural practices, overexploitation of natural resources, rural exodus, and the sharp drop in the water table are all imminent threats to the existence of oases, which Kilito has chosen to explore in his photography.
The submitted works were judged by a panel comprising art collector Alan Lo, Audrey Bazin, artistic director of the Louis Roederer Foundation, curator Azu Nwagbogu, Sotheby’s director Brandei Estes, Condé Nast editor-in-chief Darius Sanai, collector Maria Sukkar, photographer Maryam Eisler, businesswoman Nadja Swarovski and Sophie Neuendorf, vice president of Artnet.
Darius Sanai, editor-in-chief at Condé Nast and chair of the panel of judges, commented: “Humans lived in a sustainable way for centuries before the industrial revolution, and the ancient oases of North Africa are a testament to this.
“M’Hammed Kilito’s works tell the story of the beauty, history, and perilous present of these oases, binding together human imperatives, a stark highly artistic documentary photographic style, and a commentary on the damage we are causing, all in the context of this year’s theme of Flow. He is a very worthy winner in a very strong field.”
An award event was held last week at London’s Nobu Hotel Portman Square, where Frédéric Rouzaud, CEO of Champagne Louis Roederer and the President of the Louis Roederer Foundation, awarded M’Hammed Kilito with the first prize. The Mexico-based photographer will receive £7,500 to continue funding his projects.
The two runners up are Hengki Koentjoro and Yasuhiro Ogaya who were also highly praised by the judges for their interpretations of the theme.