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June 6, 2023updated 06 Jul 2023 2:44pm

Louis Roederer Photography Prize for Sustainability: M’Hammed Kilito wins 2023 award

By The World of Fine Wine Team

M’Hammed Kilito, a documentary photographer and National Geographic explorer based in Casablanca, Morocco, picked up the second edition of the Louis Roederer Photography Prize for Sustainability for his work on the theme of “flow.

Champagne Louis Roederer has played a significant role in supporting art and culture around the world for some years now. The company founded the Louis Roederer Foundation in 2011, and it has since developed strong ties with, among other institutions, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Réunion des Musées Nationaux, and the Jeu de Paume in Paris; the French Academy-Villa Medici in Rome; and the Villa Albertine in New York City.

Prizes, awards, and grants are also key facets of the Louis Roederer Foundation’s mission, with sponsorships such as the Photography Research Grant to the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Rising Star Award at the Semaine de la Critique in Cannes, the Revelation Prize at the Deauville American Film Festival, and the Discovery Award at the Rencontres d’Arles all contributing to the Foundation’s avowed “favorite role in supporting and nurturing talented up-and-coming artists.”

In 2021-2022, the house cemented its position as a major patron of arts and culture with the introduction of the Louis Roederer Photography Prize for Sustainability, which looks “to support contemporary photographers with an interest in shining a light on sustainability and environmental issues.”

The 2023 prize, the award’s second edition, was based on the theme of “flow” and went to M’Hammed Kilito, a documentary photographer and National Geographic explorer based in Casablanca, Morocco, for his work “on the relationship between groups or individuals and their environments” which deals with “issues related to cultural identity, the sociology of work, and climate change.”

“Humans lived in a sustainable way for centuries before the industrial revolution, and the ancient oases of North Africa are a testament to this,” said Darius Sanai, chair of the panel of judges. “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.”

Kilito was awarded £7,500 towards funding his work, while the two runners-up, Hengki Koentjoro and Yasuhiro Ogaya , were also praised for their interpretation of the theme.

Before its Gone: A selection of work by the Louis Roederer Photography Prize for Sustainability winner M’Hammed Kilito

Desertification invades many villages in Southern Morocco. Global warming and drought cycles contribute to killing the palm trees who usually protect the oasis against desertification.
Every Sunday morning, very early Mohammed the potter goes to collect wood to be able to bake the pottery he has been producing during the whole week.

In August 2020, the fire burned several houses, hundreds of date palms, orchards, vegetable gardens and more than 400 heads of cattle in the oasis of Tighmert. The increase in temperature and water stress has a considerable impact on the vegetation of the oasis, which, dried out, becomes more likely to catch fire quickly.

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