Press release

Wellcome launches £20,000 photography prize to showcase powerful stories about health

  • Wellcome Photography Prize revamped in its 21st year by global charitable foundation Wellcome
  • Focus on health in society and the impact of health issues on people and communities worldwide
  • Call for entries now open across four new categories
  • One category dedicated to this year’s theme of ‘outbreaks’

A new international photography prize celebrating compelling imagery that captures stories of health, medicine and science launches today. Wellcome Photography Prize invites photographers to enter their images which highlight the most challenging health issues of our time. 

The overall winner of Wellcome Photography Prize will receive a £15,000 prize, with the winner of each of the four categories receiving £1,250. Prizes will be presented at an awards ceremony in London in summer 2019. 

Winning entries will also be showcased in a public exhibition at Lethaby Gallery, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London in July 2019. The shortlisted entries will be shown alongside a photo series commissioned by Wellcome, which will tell an in-depth story on the theme of ‘outbreaks’ from the perspective of a celebrated documentary photographer, to be announced later this year.

Wellcome Photography Prize invites photographers, photojournalists, researchers, clinical photographers and artists to submit images across four categories: 

  • Social perspectives – explore how health and illness affect the way we live
  • Hidden worlds – reveal details hidden to the naked eye
  • Medicine in focus – show health and healthcare up close and personal
  • Outbreaks (2019 theme) – capture the impact of disease as it spreads

Previously known as the Wellcome Image Awards, the Prize builds on a 20-year legacy of bringing the best of scientific imagery to ever more people and inspiring people to think differently about ourselves and about our health. In its 21st year this revised format reaches an ever wider pool of photographers and image makers across the world, whilst continuing to provide a platform for clinical and biomedical researchers to showcase the best of scientific imagery. 

The 2019 judging panel comprises:

  • 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, South Africa
  • Chair: Jeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome, UK

Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome and chair of the jury said:

‘As part of Wellcome’s mission to improve health, Wellcome Photography Prize will connect research more closely with society and with our own lives. As a doctor and a scientist, I’ve seen how powerful visual imagery can start conversations, bring complex arguments to life, and change the way the world responds to health challenges. 

Whether you are a photojournalist, clinical photographer, research scientist or an artist, this is for you and a fantastic opportunity. Winning entries might be based on one person or a family, have a cast of millions, or reveal what’s happening inside a single cell. What will unite them is the quality of the image and the astonishing stories behind them. I’m honoured and very much looking forward to chairing the amazing panel who will judge the Prize in its 21st year.’

Entries to the Wellcome Photography Prize 2019 will be accepted on its website which contains full terms and conditions for entry. The deadline for entries is 17 December 2018.

Wellcome Photography Prize 2019 exhibition will open at Lethaby Gallery, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, from 4 to 13 July 2019. Entry will be free and open to all. 

Sign up to Wellcome Photography Prize emails:
Follow on Instagram: @WellcomePhotoPrize #WPP19