Wellcome Photography Prize 2019

The Wellcome Photography Prize celebrates compelling imagery that captures stories of health, medicine and science.

Key dates

  • Shortlist announced
    June 2019
  • Winners announced
    3 July 2019
  • Exhibition opens
    4 July 2019

See terms and conditions and privacy statement for more information.

Previously the Wellcome Image Awards, our newly relaunched competition will reward pictures that show the importance of health in society and the impact health issues have on people and communities worldwide.

We’re looking to captivate people with stories of science and medicine, and start conversations about some of the health challenges humanity faces today.

Whether you are a research scientist, a documentary or clinical photographer, an artist, or a photojournalist, this is a great opportunity for you to inspire people to think differently about health, medicine and life.

How to enter

Entries for the Wellcome Photography Prize 2019 are now closed.

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Prizes and publicity

Images will be shortlisted and then winners chosen by a panel of high-profile judges.

The winner of each category will receive £1,250, with the overall winner receiving a prize of £15,000. Prizes will be presented at an awards ceremony in London on 3 July 2019.

All the winning and shortlisted entries will go on show in a major public exhibition at Lethaby Gallery, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, from 4-13 July 2019.

If you’re a winner, we will also offer you opportunities to take part in events to showcase your work to a range of audiences. Our winning images receive extensive international media coverage each year.

The winner of the Medicine in Focus category will be invited to produce the Julie Dorrington commission, a photo story exploring and documenting a patient’s journey with their condition.


There are four categories in the competition:

The images shown in each category are for illustration only – we were open to all perspectives and imaging techniques for the 2019 prize.

Category 1: Social perspectives

Images that:

  • provide insights into the impact of health conditions, disease and disability
  • start conversations about health taboos
  • connect the planet’s health with our own
  • raise awareness of health issues that are little-known outside the areas they affect
  • explore medical technology used in social contexts.

Category 2: Hidden worlds

Images that:

  • highlight tiny details that are hidden in plain sight
  • reveal the cellular structures that underpin life and health
  • connect people with exciting biomedical research
  • show ways to diagnose or detect disease more effectively
  • use cutting-edge imaging technologies to let people watch science at work.

Category 3: Medicine in focus

Images that:

  • explore healthcare delivery, whether high-tech hospital treatment or improvised medicine in the field
  • uncover local community clinics and outreach work
  • show the personal impact of medical conditions and treatments (from the common to the rare)
  • open up hard-to-access areas – on the ward, in theatre, in high-level containment units or in isolated parts of the world
  • explain specialised medical equipment.

Category 4: Outbreaks (2019 theme)

What are scientists doing to track the molecular signature of a disease as it moves through a community? What burden does an outbreak create for health services, and how does it affect the people it leaves behind? While fast-moving outbreaks such as Ebola and Zika create fear and uncertainty, what stories of hope, courage and human resilience can we find alongside them?

In recent years, outbreaks of measles, mumps, whooping cough and chickenpox have reappeared in high-income countries where access to vaccines is not usually an issue. Why are these preventable diseases making such an aggressive return?

And what about the indirect health threats from an outbreak? In a public health emergency, it can be harder for people with long-term conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and lung disease to get the care they need. How do they cope? And are they more at risk from the infectious disease itself as a result?

Images that:

  • explore the burden that a disease outbreak places on a community
  • investigate how outbreaks bring people together
  • expose the molecular features of infectious and non-infectious disease outbreaks
  • follow a disease as it spreads
  • understand the pressures that epidemics place on our healthcare systems
  • look at how we fight current and future threats to our health.

Judges panel

The judges for the 2019 prize are:

  • Emma Bowkett, Director of Photography at FT Weekend Magazine, UK
  • Dan M Davis, Professor of Immunology at the University of Manchester, UK
  • Dr Heidi Larson, Director of The Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK
  • Joanne Liu, International President of Médecins Sans Frontières, Switzerland
  • Pete Muller, National Geographic Photographer and Fellow, Kenya
  • Azu Nwagbogu, Curator at Large for Photography at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Nigeria.

The judges panel will be chaired by Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome.

Contact us

If you would like to know more about the prize:
T +44 (0)20 7611 8215
E PhotoPrize@wellcome.ac.uk

For media enquiries:
T +44 (0)20 7611 8866
E media.office@wellcome.ac.uk

Credit for main image: Anne-Katrin Purkiss. Wellcome Image Award winner 2009.