Wellcome Photography Prize 2020

Whether you are a professional, student or amateur photographer, you’re invited to enter the Wellcome Photography Prize 2020, which celebrates compelling imagery that will encourage conversations about the health challenges of our time.

Key dates

Deadline for entries 

  • 23:59pm (GMT) on 16 December 2019 

Winners announced 

  • Summer 2020 

Exhibition opens 

  • Summer 2020 

Final call for entries. Submissions close at 23:59pm (GMT) on Monday 16 December 2019. Submit here

For 2020, our theme is Mental Health, which covers two of our five prize categories. 

At Wellcome, we believe a radical new approach is needed to transform the science of mental health. And with the prize this year we want to transform public perceptions too. We're looking for photographs that present refreshing, genuine insights into mental health and mental health problems, and avoid stereotypes and cliché.

We are still keen to receive photographs exploring other global health issues that may not relate directly to mental health, in the Social Perspectives, Medicine in Focus and Hidden Worlds categories.

How to enter

The deadline for entries is 23:59pm (GMT) on 16 December 2019.

The competition is free to enter and you can submit as many images as you like, except for the Mental Health Series category where you can submit a maximum of five.

You cannot enter the same image in more than one category.

Images entered into the Wellcome Photography Prize 2020 are shortlisted and the winners are then chosen by a panel of high-profile judges.

As the image maker you will retain full copyright over your own work. We just ask for permission to use your images for three years in the context of the prize – in exhibitions, promotions, publications and media coverage, including social media.

For winning and shortlisted images only, we also ask for ongoing permission to use your image in the context of the prize and to support Wellcome’s broader charitable work. This is so that we can continue discussions about the health issues and stories to which the images relate.

More details about how to enter

Prizes and publicity

The winner of each category will receive £1,250, with the overall winner receiving a prize of £15,000 at an awards ceremony in London.

All shortlisted images will go on show at a public exhibition in London. If you’re a winner, there will be opportunities to showcase your work to a range of audiences.

One entrant 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.

Categories

You can enter in any of five categories, using any form of photography including documentary, reportage, portrait, landscape, fine art photography or collage.

  • Social Perspectives (single image): explore how good and bad health affect society.
  • Hidden Worlds (single image): expose hidden details, combat health taboos or reveal places difficult to access.
  • Medicine in Focus (single image): show healthcare, medicine or surgery up close and personal.
  • Mental Health (single image): dispel the visual clichés of mental illness, fight stigmas and explore an individual's experience or recovery.
  • Mental Health (series of up to five images): tell a story through related images that explores the spectrum of mental health to mental ill health.

Click on any image below to see it at full size.

Social Perspectives

We are looking for images that:

  • provide insights into the impact of health conditions, disease and disability
  • connect the planet’s health with our own
  • raise awareness of health issues that are little-known
  • look at how health systems impact society
  • explore the gap between personal experience and photography’s intent to represent this.

Hidden Worlds

We are looking for images that:

  • expose health topics that often go unreported or are unseen
  • start conversations about health taboos
  • connect people with emerging health topics
  • highlight tiny details that are hidden in plain sight
  • convey the emotional and physical responses to being diagnosed.

Medicine in Focus

We're looking for images that:

  • explore healthcare delivery, whether high-tech hospital treatment or improvised medicine in the field
  • show the personal impact of medical conditions and treatments
  • open up hard-to-access areas – on the ward, in theatre, in high-level containment units or in isolated parts of the world
  • highlight people that contribute to healthcare behind the scenes
  • explore medical technology used in social contexts.

Mental Health (2020 theme): single image

Mental Health (2020 theme): series

Visual clichés of mental health and mental health problems don’t help anyone. So we’re looking for photographs that take a more authentic, more human perspective. We’re asking you to use your camera to fight the stigma people face and present a richer, broader narrative of this aspect of life that affects one in four people worldwide. 

For the two Mental Health categories, you can look at a particular type of mental health problem in its own right or the mental health consequences of any other health issue. Problems you could focus on include depression, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and others.

You may enter one image in the single image category or a series of up to five images in the series category. 

Questions you may want to consider are: 

  • What does getting better look like?   
  • What causes someone to have trouble with their mental health?  
  • How are people finding their own ways to manage their health problems?  
  • How do different cultures contend with mental health problems?  
  • How are people finding and delivering treatments?   

    Wellcome photography commission 2020

    Award-winning photographer Siân Davey has been commissioned for the Wellcome Photography Prize 2020, which explores the theme of mental health. Her forthcoming work will intimately explore the link between depression, anxiety and families living in poverty. 

    Following a 15-year career as a psychotherapist, Siân began her photographic practice in 2014, drawing on professional experiences to inform her work. Her community-centred photography is an investigation of her own psychological landscapes and of those around her.

    Contact us

    If you would like to know more about the prize

    For media enquiries

    Credit for main image: Simon Norfolk/Wellcome Photography Prize 2019. All rights reserved. Credit and rights for other images are contained in the 'Info' section of each image.