Although its name implies tongue twisters or dancing dwarfs, Prix Pictet is a distinguished international photography award for artists focused on environmental sustainability and has just announced their shortlist. Last year’s winner, Benoit Aquin, documented the effects and creation of deserts in China. This year’s 12 nominees depict the destruction of the environment through the exploitation of the world’s resources. Click through the gallery to see images from all the nominees!

Edward Burtynsky, Quarries

In many of the images the majesty of natural landscapes is juxtaposed with representations of human wrath and ecological destruction. Looking at the photos feels like being faced with a morally unflattering mirror.

Photographer Ed Kashi, whose work in the Niger Delta we’ve documented before, has been nominated for a photo from his series The Curse of the Black Gold. Other featured photographers include Edward Burtynsky, for his stark image of quarries, Edgar Martins, capturing mystical views of the eucalyptus forests in his native Portugal, and Chris Steele Perkins, who shows us the reality of Mt. Fuji’s cultural ecology.

Kofi Annan, the prize’s Honorary President, will announce the winning photograph on October 22, 2009 in Paris.

+ Prix Pictet