Wellcome Photography Prize 2021: winning images show unique perspectives on health

A compelling series on trans women in Indonesia, finding ways to navigate the pandemic when their rights are restricted, and an intense self-portrait that shows a moment of peace and creativity amid the disarray of depression are the winners of the Wellcome Photography Prize 2021.

Mama Yuli (R) sits with Mama Dona (L) resting on her knee, both are wearing masks.

Yoppy Pieter: image series 

Yoppy Pieter, a visual storyteller and educator based in Jakarta, has won the series prize with ‘Trans Woman: Between Colour and Voice’. His five pictures show us some of the reality of life for trans women in Indonesia – poverty, discrimination, injustice – and how Covid-19 has made these challenges even harder. 

He says: “Thank you to my beautiful subjects, I really really appreciate your bravery to show your stories to me and to the world.” 

Jameisha Prescod: single image 

Jameisha Prescod is a London-based film maker and chronic illness advocate. She has won the single-image prize with a picture that documents her experience of lockdown. This self-portrait shows Jameisha's experience of being shut-in with her depression. She sits in her room, surrounded by clutter but immersed in knitting, which she uses to clear her head and escape her worries, at least for a while.

She says: “It’s really hard to talk about mental health and I guess it’s especially hard to turn a camera on yourself to expose some of the deepest and darkest (places), but I’m glad that even taking it, I guess, could touch on something that a lot of us have been going through in this pandemic.” 

The winners were chosen by a diverse panel of judges from more than 10,000 images submitted from all over the world.  

Jeremy Farrar, Wellcome’s director and chair of the judging panel, said: “Both winning entries moved all judges and initiated debate, we couldn’t help but discuss them at length. Covid-19 and mental health are components in both, but what captivated us all was the powerful human stories at the very centre through a lens of compassion.”  

See the other shortlisted entries across three themes: Managing Mental Health, Fighting Infections and Health in a Heating World on the Wellcome Photography Prize 2021 page