BUKIMA, VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK, EASTERN CONGO, JULY 2007: Conservation Rangers work with locals to evacuate the bodies of four Mountain Gorrillas killed in Virunga National Park, Eastern Congo. A Silver-Back alpha male, the leader of the group was shot 10 times with AK47 bullets. Four  female mountain gorillas were also killed by AK fire, one of them sadistically burned as she lay wounded. Two of the females had babies and another was pregnant. The two babies were not found and it is thought that they would have fled and died of stress and dehydration. The motivation for the killing was later discovered to be a powerful and illegal charcoal lobby in the nearby city of Goma who killed the gorillas to impose their will on conservation rangers seeking to protect the gorilla habitat. This habit has the best hardwood trees for charcoal production, a 40 million dollar per annum industry in this region. The local illegal charcoal industry clashes with conservation efforts in this very poor area and Rangers have been threatened, tortured and killed as a result of this clash of political and economic wills. Over 150 Rangers have been killed in their efforts to protect the Gorillas of Virunga, one of the world's most endangered species with just over 800 mountain gorillas remaining in the world. The DRC has the highest toll of human casualties of any country since the second world war, a figure in the region of 5.4 million dead as a result of war and resultant displacement, disease, starvation and ongoing militia violence.
VIEW GALLERY | 24 PHOTOS
Conservation rangers work with locals to evacuate the bodies of four Mountain gorillas killed in Virunga National Park, Eastern Congo. From the series "A violation of Eden"Brent Stirton—Getty Images Reportage
BUKIMA, VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK, EASTERN CONGO, JULY 2007: Conservation Rangers work with locals to evacuate the bodies of four Mountain Gorrillas killed in Virunga National Park, Eastern Congo. A Silver-Back alpha male, the leader of the group was shot 10 times with AK47 bullets. Four  female mountain gorillas were also killed by AK fire, one of them sadistically burned as she lay wounded. Two of the females had babies and another was pregnant. The two babies were not found and it is thought that they would have fled and died of stress and dehydration. The motivation for the killing was later discovered to be a powerful and illegal charcoal lobby in the nearby city of Goma who killed the gorillas to impose their will on conservation rangers seeking to protect the gorilla habitat. This habit has the best hardwood trees for charcoal production, a 40 million dollar per annum industry in this region. The local illegal charcoal industry clashes with conservation efforts in this very poor area and Rangers have been threatened, tortured and killed as a result of this clash of political and economic wills. Over 150 Rangers have been killed in their efforts to protect the Gorillas of Virunga, one of the world's most endangered species with just over 800 mountain gorillas remaining in the world. The DRC has the highest toll of human casualties of any country since the second world war, a figure in the region of 5.4 million dead as a result of war and resultant displacement, disease, starvation and ongoing militia violence.
NZARA, SOUTH SUDAN: Michael Oryem, 29, is a recently defected Lord's Resistance Army fighter who's L.R.A group was involved in the poaching of Ivory in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Garamba is a former base of operations for the LRA and a major Ivory based source of financing for the notorious group. Oryem is seen with 2 of 6 ivory tusks that he hid and then led the Ugandan forces to inside the border region of the Central African Republic. He claims that the LRA killed many elephants in Garamba National Park in the DRC and that he was ordered by Joseph Kony, the LRA's notorious leader, to bring the ivory to him in Darfur, South Sudan. Ivory is now a real means of financing for the LRA, it is used for both food and weapons supplies and is traded to the Sudanese Army who transports it north to Khartoum. Oryem was abducted by the group when he was 9 and lived with them for over 17 years in the wild. He was made a commander in the group at the age of 12. The LRA is infamous for the killing and abduction of thousands of civilians across multiple countries. He defected and is now a member of the Ugandan Army, UPDF, African Union force hunting the LRA.
A Million Shillings- Escape from Somalia
A Million Shillings- Escape from Somalia
Drowning World
Drowning World
Riot police began to storm Maidan after clashes on Shelkovichna street. Kiev, Feb. 18, 2014.(RUS)Беркут идет штурмом на майдан после столкновения на ул. Шелковчиная.
For a few days barricades was burning on Hrushevskoho street, they were all the time with new tires and Molotov cocktails. Kiev, Jan. 23, 2014
Still life with shoes
Still life with mask
Cam 05 0006
Cam 05 0001
Conservation rangers work with locals to evacuate the bodies of four Mountain gorillas killed in Virunga National Park, Eastern Congo. From the series "A violation of Eden"
Brent Stirton—Getty Images Reportage
1 of 24

Finalists for Prix Pictet Photography Award Announced

Jul 10, 2015

The Prix Pictet jury has announced 12 finalists for the sixth edition of the prestigious photography award, which honors work that promotes discussion of social issues.

Ilit Azoulay, Valérie Belin,
 Matthew Brandt, Maxim Dondyuk, Alixandra Fazzina,
 Ori Gersht,
 John Gossage, Pieter Hugo, Gideon Mendel, Sophie Ristelhueber, Brent Stirton and 
Yongliang Yang were shortlisted by a jury of eight as the finalists of the international award. Each year the commission presents a different theme, this year's being Disorder.

“We wanted a theme that sort of captures the moment," says Michael Benson, director of Prix Pictet. "Disorder seems to us to be particularly appropriate now."

The finalists have addressed the theme in various ways, whether depicting human trafficking and immigration crises (as in the long-term project A Million Shillings: Escape from Somalia by Alixandra Fazzina), reporting on the killing of bees (as in Honeybees by American photographer Matthew Brandt) or imaging artificial cities (as in the work by Yongliang Yang, Artificial Wonderland).

“Each of the photographers’ work speaks in some way to the theme of the prize in very interesting and noble ways,” Benson tells TIME.

A panel of nominators suggested the photographers and the jury spent six months reviewing about 400 portfolios. They considered a journalistic approach, but also praised creative and artistic qualities. Rather than the individual pictures, however, what matters most is the series as a whole and whether it is fully representative of the prize’s theme, Benson further explains.

The photographers, like South African photographer Gideon Mendel, appreciate that. Mendel's long-term project Drowning World is about the consequences of flooding in different parts of the globe. "On one level [Drowning World] is my response to climate change, and in many ways [is] a metaphorical sense of the world that could be drowning," he says. "The images are often quite calm and peaceful but they do reflect a deeper disorder."

The finalists' works will be showcased at the Musée d’Art Moderne da la Ville de Paris for a month-long exhibition starting Nov. 12, 2015. Prix Pictet honorary president Kofi Annan will announce the winner during the opening night. The winner will be granted a monetary compensation of 100,000 Swiss francs (approximately $105,900). The Pictet Group partners will also assign a commissioned work to one of the finalists, for a region where Pictet is involved in a sustainability project. Later in January 2016, the exhibition will be off to a yearlong world tour, stopping in Rome, Barcelona and Shanghai among the other cities.

But for some of the finalists, the exposure and money is just part of the value of the prize.

“It’s a great honor for me to become [one of] the finalists at Prix Pictet. It is very important for me,” says Maxim Dondyuk, a Ukrainian photographer whose body of work, Culture of the Confrontation, chronicles the violent clashes between police and protesters in Euromaidan during the 2014 protests in his homeland. For Dondyuk the prize represents an encouragement, and the knowledge that people from the industry believe in him. “I want people to see through my photography something more important, to associate it with their memories from reading books, music and their own life," Dondyuk told TIME in an email. "After Prix Pictet chose me as a finalist, believed in me... I’m gaining confidence."

Lucia De Stefani is a writer and contributor to TIME LigthBox. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.