Keeping the fire going: a visual response to coronavirus | Art and design

Rinko Kawauchi image


The ability to move beyond cliche is an important characteristic shared by photographers shortlisted for the Prix Pictet, as we grapple with the reality of the world as we emerge from the Covid-19 crisis.

The global lockdown has given birth to new cliches: wildlife cautiously exploring unpeopled streets; iconic monuments devoid of tourists, save for the occasional solitary individual escaping their confinement.

This commission asked photographers to move beyond the obvious and present a series of images that respond to the issues confronting us, to begin to plot a route to a new future and to new ways of thinking about the world.

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Rinko Kawauchi



All images were taken during the Covid-19 pandemic, either at my home or a one-minute walk away. I clicked the shutter button when I felt inclined to; I didn’t have a particular theme in mind. But when I was making my selection for the 10 shots, I felt that despite the constraints that were there, it was as if the pictures revealed a microcosm of the world itself.

Rinko Kawauchi image



It’s intriguing how photographs have this power to drag these notions from my subconscious out into the open.

Rinko Kawauchi – CV

This is a strange time, where we’re cautious about avoiding contact with others. And while there were days when anxiety overtook me, there were also times that my daughter’s presence gave me hope.

Rinko Kawauchi image



Rinko Kawauchi – CV2

Throughout history, calamities of various forms – disease, natural disasters, war – have threatened us. But in spite of that history, here I stand, now. I have to keep this little fire in my chest going, I think to myself.

Rinko Kawauchi image



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Prix Pictet was founded in 2008 by the Geneva-based Pictet Group, with the mandate to use photography to move beyond cliche and deliver powerful messages about sustainability to a global audience. Its goal is to uncover photography of the highest order, applied to the social and environmental challenges we face today.

Rinko Kawauchi (Japan) was shortlisted for Prix Pictet ‘Space’ in 2017.



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