The world faces huge health challenges, and we at Wellcome support science that can find ways to solve these. But we also want to change the way the world thinks about health and to inspire new action.
That’s why the Wellcome Photography Prize celebrates remarkable visual stories that bring these issues to life.
In the shortlist below, 31 talented photographers share their personal views of three of the most urgent global health challenges: mental health, infectious disease and global heating. By bearing witness to these stories, we can all enrich our understanding – and strengthen our determination to find new solutions.
This year's winners will be announced at a live event on YouTube on 28 July 2021. Subscribe to attend the event.(opens in a new tab)
Mental health problems are common all over the world but they’re still little-understood. These photos share unique insights into what it’s like to live with depression, anxiety and other such problems. They also show us some of the ways that people – individually and as communities – are keeping their lives on course in a turbulent world.
Friendship Bench Zimbabwe
Birds of a Feather Flock Together
The Big Fish
The photos in these categories naturally focus on Covid-19. The pandemic has affected people’s lives all over the world, and here we see some of those effects up close and personal. From the ceaseless efforts of frontline workers to the ordinary people from all walks of life, these stories also show how Covid has complicated other issues, like cancer treatment, the denial of trans rights, and war. We even get to glimpse where pandemics come from.
The Next Pandemic
2 Metres: Masked Portraits on Ridley Road
Trans Woman: Between Colour and Voice
Measure and Middle
Conflict and Covid-19 in Nagorno-Karabakh
Our rapidly changing climate brings with it a host of threats to human health. In these photos, we see how fire and flood can devastate the land that people depend on, how heat creates new dangers of disease, and what happens when food and safe water become scarce. The stories also show us what people do to keep their families healthy in life-threatening environments, and how these threats could be reduced.
Until the Corn Grows Back
An Elegy for the Death of Hamun
Sun, Not Salt
Burnt Memory: Archaeology from a Climate Emergency
Brett Rogers OBE, 2021 Judge
"With a diverse panel such as the Wellcome Photography Prize jury come polar opinions and experiences. Ultimately though we all came togethe, from wide-ranging backgrounds to present a strong shortlist which reflects a visually provocative state of human health today."