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A “Wellcome” Sight


The Wellcome photography prize has a new look for 2019. Previously known as the Wellcome Image Awards, the annual photography competition from the UK’s research charity the Wellcome Trust rewards pictures from any country that showcase stories of health, science and medicine. With categories including “hidden worlds”, “medicine in focus”, “social perspectives” and a special theme for 2019, “outbreaks”, the new prize hopes to expand the scope of the competition beyond the traditional clinical and imaging focus. Marianne Dear, Wellcome Photography Prize Manager says, “We wanted to reveal more about health in a broader way, rather than only focusing on researchers in laboratories. The new prize expands this vision to the health challenges we face not only in our own bodies but in families, communities and broader society.”

“The man with the golden blood” by Greg White. Credit: Greg White/Wellcome 2014


Dear says they were keen not to lose what was so special about the previous awards. “We expect that researchers will feel at home entering microscopy and medical imaging into the new ‘Hidden Worlds’ category but it could be interpreted in more lateral ways too. Social Perspectives is perhaps the broadest category, where we expect to see images that reflect on how health is impacted by environment, conflict, economics or geography,” says Dear. “Medicine in Focus allows image-makers to get excited about technology and specialized equipment, or could cover healthcare delivery and surgery. The Outbreaks category encourages entrants to show the molecular features of infectious and non-infectious disease outbreaks, or the social effects outbreaks have on people and infrastructure.”


The competition aims to put health and research in the public eye. Dear adds, “It’s important to see diverse interpretations of health to challenge our own perspectives and start conversations with each other about what good health could be. That’s how progress in research is made.” By shining a spotlight on the health issues facing society and creating conversation, the Trust also hopes to encourage more funding for medical research.


Photographers, photojournalists, artists, researchers or clinical photographers worldwide are all encouraged to enter for a chance to win the first prize of £15,000. The judging panel includes Joanne Liu, international president of Médecins Sans Frontières and National Geographic photographer, Pete Muller.


Entry is free, and the submission deadline is December 17, 2018. Winners will be presented with their awards the following summer. In addition, the best entries will be exhibited at St Martin’s Lethaby Gallery, London, UK. More details can be found here.

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About the Author
Joanna Cummings

A former library manager and storyteller, I have wanted to write for magazines since I was six years old, when I used to make my own out of foolscap paper and sellotape and distribute them to my family. Since getting my MSc in Publishing, I’ve worked as a freelance writer and content creator for both digital and print, writing on subjects such as fashion, food, tourism, photography – and the history of Roman toilets. Now I can be found working on The Analytical Scientist, finding the ‘human angle’ to cutting-edge science stories.

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