Wellcome Photography Prize 2019

Wellcome launches a £20,000 photography prize to showcase powerful stories about health and invites doctors, researchers, clinical photographers and other health professionals to submit their entries

A new international photography prize for pictures that tell stories about health issues and encourage a more diverse view of what research and health mean has been launched by Wellcome. The overall winner will receive a £15,000 prize, with the winner of each of the four categories receiving £1,250. Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome and chair of the jury comments, ‘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 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 a great opportunity for you to inspire people to think differently about health, medicine and life. 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’ Prizes will be presented at an awards ceremony in London in summer 2019.’

For many years the Wellcome prize focused on clinical and imaging experts, but is now open to anyone whether a photographer, photojournalist, researchers, clinical photographer, or artist. Entrants to the competition will tackle powerful, frequently life-and-death subjects, but their seriousness does not rule out ingenuity and a sense of humour.

For many years the Wellcome prize focused on clinical and imaging experts, but is now open to anyone whether a photographer, photojournalist, researchers, clinical photographer, or artist. Entrants to the competition will tackle powerful, frequently life-and-death subjects, but their seriousness does not rule out ingenuity and a sense of humour.

Entry is free and the lucky winner will take home £15,000. People are invited to submit images across four categories: ‘Social perspectives’ – exploring how health and illness affect the way we live; ‘Hidden worlds’ – revealing details hidden to the naked eye; ‘Medicine in focus’ – showing health and healthcare up close and personal and ‘Outbreaks’ – capturing the impact of disease as it spreads. The competition is an ambitious revamp of the Wellcome image awards that ran for 20 years, a long enough period to warrant a re-examination of the prize said Jeremy Farrar. Susan Smart’s photo of a patient being treated at an improvised eye clinic in India won last year’s Wellcome Image Award.

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. This topic remains bleakly relevant with the recent news of a return of the Ebola virus to the Democratic Republic of Congo and this year’s centenary of the 1918 Flu pandemic which killed thousands of people. Winning entries will also be showcased in a public exhibition at Lethaby Gallery, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London in July 2019.

High profile, international names comprising the 2019 judging panel include: Emma Bowkett, Director of Photography at FT Weekend Magazine, Dan M. Davis, Professor of Immunology at the University of Manchester, 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, a National Geographic Photographer and Fellow, Kenya and Azu Nwagbogu, Curator at Large for Photography at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, South Africa

Wellcome has long prided itself on providing a platform for clinical and biomedical researchers to showcase the best of scientific imagery, challenging people to think differently about themselves and about their health.
Entries to the Wellcome Photography Prize 2019 will be accepted on its website which contains full terms and conditions for entry. The deadline for submissions is 17 December 2018. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in the summer of 2019, and an exhibition of the best photographs will be staged at the Central Saint Martin’s Lethaby Gallery in London.
The competition aims to do for health what the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year has done for nature.
Doctors and surgeons are justifiably celebrated for being willing to turn their hand at almost anything and many are talented part-time artists and sculptors.
We look forward to a medical visual feast!

Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, Euston, London NW1 2BE; tel. 0207 611 2222
Gallery opening hours Mon- Gallery closed; Tues & Wed 10am – 6pm; Thurs 10am -10pm; Fri & Sat – 10am-6pm
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.

Rebecca Wallersteiner

Rebecca Wallersteiner is a health and arts journalist, who writes for The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, NetDoctor, Telegraph, The Times, Traveller and
The Oldie magazines. She also works for the NHS and is the Hippocratic Post's roving reporter.
Rebecca Wallersteiner
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