Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

This year, the Wellcome Photography Prize is exploring the human side of three urgent health challenges: mental health problems, infectious diseases and global heating.

Key dates

  • Last day to enter: 18 January 2021, 23.59 GMT
  • Judging: March 2021
  • Shortlist and winners announced: Summer 2021
  • Exhibition opens: Summer 2021

These challenges affect people of all ages, in all parts of the world – although their effects are not felt equally.

But there is hope. People and communities around the world are coming up with ingenious ways to manage mental health, control the spread of infections, and adapt to the local health risks of global heating. Theirs are the voices we want to hear – the inspiring stories that need to be shown and shared. 

Submit your entries(opens in a new tab) for free to either the single image or series category for one of the following themes:

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Managing Mental Health 

All of our minds work differently, and sometimes in ways that can negatively affect us.

There are many ways of managing our mental health – sometimes we can do it by ourselves, and sometimes we benefit from more support to understand our mental health problems, or prevent episodes of an illness that could otherwise hold us back from living the life we want.

Show us new ways to think about mental health problems and how to manage them.

Managing Mental Health (single image) examples

Managing Mental Health (series) example

Fighting Infections  

The Covid-19 pandemic is inescapable this year. Its spread has revealed how connected we all are: everywhere there are now signs to wash hands, wear masks and keep a social distance.

This invisible virus has caused so many deaths and so much disruption. But it is not the only infection that needs to be brought under control. Many communities around the world are fighting other outbreaks or trying to prevent them. Has the focus on Covid-19 helped? Which other stories have been obscured by the pandemic?  

We want to see the realities of infectious diseases in a pandemic world, from personal experiences to political actions. 

Fighting Infections (single image) examples

Fighting Infections (series) example

Health in a Heating World 

Wildfires and extreme weather are the most visible signs of our changing climate, and the risk they pose to life and livelihoods is all too clear. The heat has more insidious ways to harm people’s health, too – in some cities, temperatures regularly reach 50°C, while in the fields, workers struggle to stave off dehydration day after day.

Climate change is a worldwide problem but, until we can stop global heating, it will take local solutions to protect people's health from its harmful effects. 

Show us the places already affected by global heating, and the people finding innovative ways to protect each other. 

Health in a Heating World (single image) examples

Health in a Heating World (series) example


The finalists of each category will receive £1,000.

Our single image and series winners will each receive £10,000.

Prizes will be presented at an awards ceremony in summer 2021. The winning and shortlisted entries will then go on show at a public exhibition in London.

If you’re a winner, we'll also offer you a range of opportunities to showcase your work to different audiences. Our winning images receive extensive international media coverage each year.

Entry conditions and judging criteria 

Read about the entry conditions and judging criteria, and the terms and conditions for the Wellcome Photography Prize 2021.

You can also read our frequently asked questions.

Our privacy statement explains how, and on what legal basis, we collect, store, and use your personal information.

The judges 

A panel of high-profile judges  made up of photographers, curators, and medical and media professionals  will shortlist and choose the winning images. The panel will be announced soon.

Contact us 

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Previous winners and commissions