Press release

Wellcome Image Awards: a story beyond every picture

The Wellcome Image Awards 2011, celebrating the most striking and technically excellent images acquired by the Wellcome Images picture library in the past 18 months, were presented at Wellcome Collection in London on 23 February.

This year's winners have used techniques ranging from clinical photography to brain tractography to capture the wonder of medicine and the life sciences in all of their glorious splendour. See the winning images on the Wellcome Image Awards website.

From a stunning photomicrograph of a zebrafish retina to a reconstructed CT scan of a patient's aneurysm, the winners showcase the diversity of images that are made available for public use through the Wellcome Library's image repository, Wellcome Images.

Each of the 20 extraordinary images and one animation has been carefully selected by a panel of judges including Alice Roberts (anatomist, author and science broadcaster), Adam Rutherford (TV presenter, science writer and multimedia editor at 'Nature'), Fergus Walsh (medical correspondent at the BBC) and Eric Hilaire (Picture Editor at the 'Guardian').

Special Awards have been given to David Bishop's photograph of a live donor kidney transplant and a fluorescent micrograph showing cell division and gene expression in plant cells, by Fernan Federici and Lionel Dupuy.

Commenting on the winning images, Dr Rutherford says: "Throughout the history of science and discovery, key ideas have been best described and shared through diagrams. How much easier is it to understand the double helix structure of DNA when you can picture it? And crucially, that structure itself is key to understanding its function. At this year's Wellcome Image Awards we celebrate images that not only help to enlighten key scientific ideas and advances, but do so with the added value of aesthetic beauty. We have selected images in which the underlying impact of the science is only enhanced by the striking and emotive visuals."

Catherine Draycott, Head of Wellcome Images, adds: "It's easy to forget that behind each of these intriguing images is a complex story of scientific pursuit. We search out hundreds of images from working scientists and artists each year and the awards offer a superb opportunity for people to find out about the cutting-edge science and the people behind the pictures."

The selected images are on display at Wellcome Collection until July 2011. Each image is accompanied by 'the story behind the picture', to explain how it was created, what it adds to scientific understanding and why the judges felt it stands out.

Wellcome Image Awards 2011 exhibition
23 February-July 2011 (exact closing date TBC)
Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE
Admission free
Mon: closed
Tue, Wed: 10.00-18.00
Thu: 10.00-22.00
Fri, Sat: 10.00-18.00
Sun: 11.00-18.00