“When was the last time you experienced something for the first time?"

The 20 shortlisted photographs for the 2009 BMW-Paris Photo Prize provide some interesting answers to this question. The resulting images are an eclectic mix: sometimes humorous and tender, and often surreal or beautiful. Launched in support of contemporary photography, the winner of the award is announced during the Paris Photo fair, and awarded a 12,000 euros ($18,000) Prize.

See all 20 short-listed works via our high-resolution slideshow.