Prix Elysée


At the Musée de l’Elysée, we think that accompanying photographers in the evolution of their career is as important as preserving their art for future generations. It is in a shared commitment to foster creativity and support the production of new work that the Musée de l’Elysée enters into a partnership with Parmigiani Fleurier to launch the Prix Elysée.

The Prix Elysée is open to promising photographers or artists using photography, regardless of nationality, who have already enjoyed their first exhibitions and publications. Photographers must be recommended by a reputed professional in the fields of photography, contemporary art, cinema, fashion, journalism or publishing. There is no imposed theme or preference for any particular photographic genre or technique.

The Musée de l’Elysée will select eight nominees upon their entry portfolios. Each will receive a contribution of CHF5’000 towards the initial presentation of an original and new project in the nominees’ book, published for the occasion. This book will accompany the nominees’ complete portfolios in the final consideration before the jury of experts. The winner will receive CHF80’000 to be divided between the completion of the proposed project and the publication of the accompanying book within one year. A curator from the Musée de l’Elysée will advise the winner throughout this process. Both the project and book will be presented at one of the Museum’s most important events, the Nuit des images. The nominees’ and the winner’s books will be printed by one of the Sandoz Family Foundation printing companies.

The eight nominees and the winner of the Prix Elysée will all benefit from important exposure and the Museum’s expert guidance. The call for applications will take place biennially. The first edition of the Prix Elysée is launched in January 2014 and concludes in June 2016.

3 February - 25 April 2014

Applications submission.

Late June 2014

Announcement of the eight Prix Elysée nominees at the Nuit des images.

January 2015

Presentation of the Prix Elysée nominees’ book at the Musée de l’Elysée and the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva in collaboration with Parmigiani Fleurier.

Late June 2015

Announcement of the Prix Elysée winner at the Nuit des images.

Late June 2016

Presentation of the winner’s project and book at the Nuit des images.


Who are we?

Musée de l’Elysee

The Musée de l’Elysée is one of the world’s leading museums entirely dedicated to photography. Since its establishment in 1985, it has improved public understanding of photography through innovative exhibitions, key publications and engaging events.

Recognised as a centre of expertise in the field of conservation and enhancement of visual heritage, it holds a unique collection of more than 100’000 prints and preserves several photographic archives, in particular those of Ella Maillart, Nicolas Bouvier, Charlie Chaplin and René Burri. By supporting young photographers, offering new perspectives on the masters and confronting photography with other art forms, the Musée de l’Elysée experiments with the image.

Based in Switzerland, it presents four major exhibitions in Lausanne each year and an average of fifteen in prestigious museums and festivals around the world. Regional by character and international in scope, it seeks to constantly develop new and exciting ways to interact with audiences and collaborate with other institutions.


The Parmigiani Fleurier story, since its beginnings in 1996, has been built on a powerful conviction: restoring the value of Swiss watchmaking art as heritage, by making it part of an ongoing tradition of manufacturing expertise. One man, Michel Parmigiani, would be the founder, and the Sandoz Family Foundation the principal, and the symbolic town of Fleurier the seat of the brand, the cradle of traditions.  Their shared vision for upholding the highest quality Swiss expertise drives them to offer excellence. The brand’s unique culture of watch restoration, passed on by Michel Parmigiani more than thirty years ago, is the keystone of its identity.  Palpable inside every modern timepiece, it attests to the “made-to-measure” spirit of Parmigiani Fleurier.

The brand’s major industrial capacity building and organisation since the turn of the 21st Century would definitively seal its independence. Each new Parmigiani creation would now be equipped with an in-house movement. This would give rise to a freedom of creation, enabling the incorporation of styles inspired by treasures from the past, as well as the wildest dreams of the future.

Who are we?


  • What is the profile necessary for a photographer to apply ?

    • Photographers who have established their career through exhibitions and publications, but have not yet enjoyed a mid-career retrospective, are at the ideal stage to apply. The goal of the Prix Elysée is to help place a promising, nationally established photographer onto the international stage and provide major funding to complete an ambitious project and publish a related book.
  • If my work uses photography, but I do not identify myself specifically as a photographer, can I still apply for the prize ?

    • Yes. Work submitted for consideration should employ photography primarily, but artists are invited to explore the image. For example, photographic collage or camera-less photography are welcome.
  • Do I need to be a Swiss citizen to submit a project to the Prix Elysée ?

    • No. The Prix Elysée is open to photographers and artists of all nationalities.
  • What do the nominees receive ?

    •  CHF5’000 contribution.
    • Important exposure of their work.
    • Presentation of their work in the form of a group projection at the ‘Nuit des images’.
    • Publication of their project proposal in the nominees’ book.
  • What does the winner receive ?

    • CHF40’000 for the completion and production of his/her photographic project.
    • CHF40’000 for the publication of his/her project book.
    •  Important exposure of his/her work.
    •  Support and guidance by one of the Musée de l’Elysée curators during the production of his/her project and publication of the related book.
    • A solo projection and book launch at the ‘Nuit des images’.
  • What are the guidelines for projects suitable for the Prix Elysée ?

    • An unpublished photographic project that has never been previously exhibited and has no prior rights’ agreement with other parties or sponsors. This work must not have been submitted to another prize.
  • Is a video an acceptable project proposal for the Prix Elysée ?

    • No. The Prix Elysée is intended to be a photographic prize. Imperatively the photographic project must be suitable for book format.
  • Is there a fee to apply to the Prix Elysée ?

    • No. There is no application fee to apply to the Prix Elysée.
  • Can the museum cover the expenses incurred in the production of my artistic portfolio, with which I apply?

    • No. The museum is unable to reimburse expenses related to the production of an applicant’s portfolio.
  • I already have low quality prints of my work, but they are not A4 format. Can I send these ?

    • No. We stipulate that all entrants submit A4 prints.
  • In what language can my portfolio documents be submitted ?

    • Portfolio materials must be submitted in either French or English. Please refer to the official Prix Elysée rules for more details.
  • Can my portfolio be postmarked for 25 April 2014 ?

    • No. All application portfolios must arrive before 25 April 2014. Any materials received after this date will not be considered.
  • Who is an acceptable reference ?

    • A reference must be a reputed professional in the fields of photography, contemporary art, cinema, fashion, journalism or publishing. An established artist recognised in the international art scene can also be a suitable reference.
  • How many photographers can a reference recommend ?

    • There is no limit to the number of recommendations that may come from one expert. We do, however, reserve the right to contact that individual to discuss his/her recommendation(s) during the selection process, if deemed necessary.
  • How should the reference’s letter and recommendation form arrive? Can it be sent directly to the museum ?

    • No. All recommendation forms, and letters of reference must be sent with the application portfolio in one envelope. A reference may, however, scan the form and email it to the photographer to print and include in the portfolio.
  • Will I be notified when my portfolio has arrived ?

    • Yes. You will be notified by email upon reception of your portfolio.
  • When will the nominees be notified and how do I know if I am selected ?

    • Nominees will be notified individually in Spring 2014. The list of nominees will be published on the Prix Elysée website at the end of June 2014.
  • When is the nominees’ book published ?

    • The nominees’ book will be published in January 2015.
  • When will the Jury be announced?

    • The Jury will be announced in Spring 2015.
  • How long does the winner have to complete his/her project ?

    • The winner has one year to complete h[er/is] project and publication.
  • What is the form of the presentation at the Musée de l’Elysée ?

    • The winning project will be presented in the form of a projection at the ‘Nuit des images’. The accompanying book will be launched at the museum on the same occasion.
  • Can I retrieve my portfolio ?

    • If you are not selected as a nominee for the Prix Elysée, you have the opportunity to schedule a time to come and retrieve your portfolio from the Musée de l’Elysée in person between June and September 2014. No portfolios will be sent by post, and/or returned in any other way. After September 2014 any remaining portfolios will no longer be available. The Musée de l’Elysée may decide to archive or destroy them.
  • If my work is not accepted the first year, am I allowed to resubmit to the Prix Elysée for the following edition ?

    • We encourage photographers not nominated to apply again for the Prix Elysée, but they should not propose the same project for two consecutive editions (see reply to question “What are the guidelines for projects suitable for the Prix Elysée ?” ).



Musée de l'Elysée
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1014 Lausanne - Switzerland

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