Wellcome Photography Prize judges and judging criteria

A panel of high-profile judges shortlist and choose the winners of the Wellcome Photography Prize.

The judges

The judges for the 2020 Wellcome Photography Prize were:

  • MaryAnne Golon, Director of Photography at The Washington Post
  • Azu Nwagbogu, Founder and Director of African Artists' Foundation and LagosPhoto Festival
  • Siân Davey, Photographer and recipient of the Wellcome Photography Prize 2020 Commission
  • Dr David Nott, Consultant surgeon, teacher and president and co-founder of the David Nott Foundation 
  • John Moe, Writer, radio personality and creator and host of the podcast The Hilarious World of Depression 
  • Dr Aiysha Malik, Technical Officer in the department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the World Health Organization.

The judges panel was chaired by Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome.


Judging criteria

The story behind each image and the reasons for its creation are as important as the image itself. All images are judged anonymously on the following criteria:

Visual merit

  • Strong visual impact.
  • Thoughtful, considered composition.
  • Use of colour (or intentional lack of colour) to enhance impact.


  • Clear link to health, medicine or science.
  • Strong story or research project behind the image.

Technical merit

  • Good image quality for the type of imaging technique used.
  • Appropriate and skilful image manipulation/editing, if used.
  • Submission of high-resolution image suitable for print.
  • Satisfies the competition terms and conditions.

Judging process

Round 1: moderation

A moderation panel filters out images that don’t meet the judging criteria and, if necessary, reduces the number of images put forward for the judges to review.

Round 2: review of images in each category

The judges select a set of images in each category to put forward to the third and final round.

Round 3: decision on winners

The judges shortlist the images to be displayed in print in the exhibition, in media and online. They then decide on a winner in each category and the overall competition winner.