In 2008 Pictet & Cie supported the UK charity WaterAid, which manages projects in the developing world that help communities gain access to clean, safe water, sanitation and hygiene education. In addition to the prestigious CH100,000 award, the Partners of Pictet & Cie commissioned one of the shortlisted photographers – Munem Wasif – to chronicle a WaterAid project in Bangladesh. For the Commission, Wasif made two separate, ten-day, visits to the southwestern Satkhira district to document the effects of rising salinity levels on the lives of the people in the area.
The result of the Commission is a profoundly moving, yet stark documentation of the daily struggle to sustain life against the impact of unsustainable human activities on the local environment.
The opening of the exhibition also marked the launch of Prix Pictet – Earth. A selection of images from the Commission were published in Salt Water Tears: lives left behind in Satkhira, Bangladesh with words by Francis Hodgson, former Chairman of Judges and Financial Times Photography Critic, and Leo Johnson, Prix Pictet’s Sustainability Adviser.