Wellcome Photography Prize 2020 highlights mental health in this year’s shortlist

Now in its second year, the revered photography prize announces 44 images by 25 international photographers in its shortlist. The winners will be revealed on 19 August 2020.

24 July 2020

Yesterday (23 July 2020) the Wellcome Photography Prize announced its shortlist for this year. Comprising of 44 photographs by 25 professional, amateur and student photographers, this year’s prize celebrates talent from Gambia, Nigeria, Brazil, Tanzania, Russia, the US and Italy, just to name a few. Amongst the shortlisted photographers are Poulomi Basu, Patricia Morosan, Sameer Satchu, Benji Reid, Lorena Ros, Nyancho NwaNri and Ed Kashi. You can view the full list of photographers here.

Now in its second year, this year’s prize is focusing on subjects of mental health, an issue that’s become more pressing given Covid-19. In turn, the Wellcome Photography Prize 2020 aims to transform preconceptions of people with mental health issues and shed light on their stories. Separated into five categories – social perspectives, hidden worlds, medicine in focus, mental health (single image) and mental health (series of up to five images) – this year’s prize is judged by an expert panel across photography, medicine, media and science.

The shortlist has been chosen from more than 7,500 images submitted from 127 countries. Touching on issues from mental health in Russia, climate change in Nigeria, depression, addiction and the impact of sexual abuse, the work presents a myriad of ways people cope with mental health and the issues surrounding them. Elsewhere in the shortlist, photographers show a behind-the-scenes insight into the healthcare profession. Shining a light on the under-appreciated work of the UK care system, to maternity care in rural Uganda and Indonesia, the shortlist highlights a number of significant issues at present. Personal stories of gender identity in Brazil, the social taboos associated with Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the traditional practices of FGM in Nigeria and menstrual exile in Nepal are also explored.

Raising awareness on the impact of these issues, Miranda Wolpert, head of mental health priority area at Wellcome said in a statement: “Our job is to find key mechanisms which can help as many people so that no one is held back by mental health problems. If you are inspired or moved by these images, please share them with others and join us on our journey to find the next generation of treatments and approaches.”

The Wellcome Photography prize funding supports over 14,000 people in more than 70 countries. Over the next five years, they aim to spend up to £5 billion to help improve mental health across the board for everyone. The winners of this year’s prize will be announced on 19 August 2020.

GalleryWellcome Photography Prize 2020


Elisabetta Zavoli: The Landfill Midwife


Camila Falcão: Téo


Nyancho NwaNri: Going Under


Pierre Bureau: Care Worker in London


Julia Gunther and Sophia Mohammed: Hadia, Light for the World


Jenevieve Aken: Monankim


Poulomi Basu: Blood Speaks


Patricia Morosan: You, the Living

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Maite Carams: After Surgery

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Jyni Ong

Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.

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