The prize celebrates photographers who have made a significant contribution to the medium in the past year and was awarded to Ristelhueber for her retrospective held at the Jeu de Paume in Paris last spring.
Her 25-year career has focused on capturing war-torn landscapes, including Bosnia, Lebanon, Iraq and Kuwait.
The award is organised by The Photographers’ Gallery, where the work (pictured) will be exhibited until 18 April. Ristelhueber was presented her £30 000 prize by film director Terry Gilliam.
Judges included Design and Artists Copyright Society chief executive Gilane Tawadros, US artist James Welling and Anne-Marie Beckmann, the curator of the Art Collection Deutsche Börse.
The Photographers’ Gallery director Brett Rogers says, ‘Sophie Ristelhueber’s fragmented images address urgent issues of trauma, loss-memory and conflict. Devoid of drama, her surgically precise images push the boundaries of the photographic medium.’
Two British photographers, Anna Fox and Donovan Wylie, were shortlisted for the prize alongside US photographer Zoe Leonard. All three will receive a £3000 prize.