Here are the winners of “Wellcome Photography Prize 2021”. Our two winners for 2021 are ‘Untangling’, Jameisha Prescod’s picture of herself knitting to block out her depression during lockdown, and ‘Trans Woman: Between Colour and Voice’, Yoppy Pieter’s series chronicling how the Covid-19 pandemic has made life harder for trans women in Indonesia.

The two winning entries were chosen by a diverse panel of judges from more than 10,000 images submitted from all over the world. Entries spanned six categories: Managing Mental Health series and single image, Fighting Infections series and single image, and Health in a Heating World series and single image.

The other category winners show volunteers disinfecting a theatre near the origin of the first Covid-19 outbreak, a man struggling to survive in the aftermath of a cyclone, a fantasy of depression as a sinister, ever-present fish, and a community whose fertile wetlands have turned to desert.


  • The winners of each category received £1,000.
  • Our overall single image and series winners each received £10,000.
  • Prizes were presented at an awards ceremony on 28 July 2021.

About the Wellcome Photography Prize:

The world faces huge health challenges, and we at Wellcome support science that can find ways to solve these. From Covid-19 to depression to climate-driven malnutrition, finding ways to protect your health is our purpose.

But we also want to change the way people think about health around the world and to inspire new action. That’s why the Wellcome Photography Prize celebrates remarkable visual stories that bring these issues to life.

You can find more info about Wellcome Photography Prize:

#1 Managing Mental Health (single image): Untangling by Jameisha Prescod

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

The isolation of lockdown exacerbated London film maker Jameisha Prescod’s depression, as she spent most of her time in the concentrated chaos of this room. “It’s where I work a full-time job, eat, sleep, catch up with friends and most importantly cry.” Before long, she felt like she was “drowning in the clutter”. For escape, she turned to knitting, which helps to soothe her mind. It may not be a cure, but it does at least put “everything else on pause” for a while.

#2 Managing Mental Health (series): The Big Fish by Morteza Niknahad

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

Inspired by a local Iranian myth, Morteza Niknahad reimagined his mother’s long-standing depression as a fish-like monster inside of her, a constant enemy to struggle against.

#3 Friendship Bench Zimbabwe by Brent Stirton

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

Through Zimbabwe’s Friendship Bench programme, trained volunteers counsel people with depression and other problems using principles from cognitive behavioural therapy – in the informal setting of a chat on a bench.

#4 Birds of a Feather Flock Together by Rebekah Williams

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

Spending time in nature can be beneficial for mental health, and Flock Together is a London-based birdwatching club for people of colour, building a community of mutual support.

#5 Morpheus by Agnese Carlotta Morganti

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

ASMR artists create videos to induce soothing, tingly sensations (known as ‘autonomous sensory meridian response’) that can help to ease stress and insomnia. Watching or just listening has become a bedtime ritual for a growing online community around the world. Morpheus documents the work of four ASMR artists in Italy.

#6 ADHD Portraits by Nora Nord

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

In the UK, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is ill-understood and under-diagnosed. The resultant lack of support makes life so much harder, causing mental health problems. To expand the conversation, Nora Nord photographs ADHD-diagnosed queer and trans people.

#7 Fighting Infections (single image): Fighting Pandemic by Sudipto Das

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

It’s exhausting. A tram conductor in Kolkata, India, wears protective clothing from head to toe even in the heat of a summer afternoon. This was when restrictions were easing after India’s first Covid-19 lockdown – public transport was running, but staff were advised to suit up like this. We’ve all grown used to saluting the efforts of healthcare workers, but plenty of other people in public-facing jobs have performed gruelling duties too to keep people safe.

#8 Fighting Infections (series): Trans Woman: Between Colour and Voice by Yoppy Pieter

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

Trans women in Indonesia face many obstacles in life: it’s hard to get a job, and to access healthcare and other government services. All of these difficulties have been made much harder by Covid-19.

#9 The Next Pandemic by Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

Deadly new viruses can spread from animals to humans, and areas of rich biodiversity, like the forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have been implicated in the emergence of viruses such as HIV and Ebola. Hugh Kinsella Cunningham investigated in collaboration with writer and public health professional Amelia Goldsmith.

#10 2 Metres: Masked Portraits on Ridley Road by Gideon Mendel (assisted by Maria Quigley)

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

Portraits taken during the UK’s first lockdown on Ridley Road in Hackney, east London. It’s usually the site of a bustling market, but its hours were restricted and distancing lines were painted on the road.

#11 Measure and Middle by Ingmar Björn Nolting

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

Covid-19 and lockdowns disrupted almost every aspect of life, challenging people, governments and organisations of every kind to find ways to adapt. Ingmar Björn Nolting travelled through Germany in April 2020 to see what was going on.

#12 Conflict and Covid-19 in Nagorno-Karabakh by Anastasia Taylor-Lind

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

The war in Nagorno-Karabakh was the first conflict to start during the pandemic, and the overlap of the two crises was deadly. Infections spiralled out of control, caused by the pressure put on healthcare facilities and the mass movement of people in and out of this disputed territory (officially part of Azerbaijan, for years it has operated as a breakaway state backed by Armenia).

#13 Health in a Heating World (single image): Tears of Drought by Sharwar Apo

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

Parents take their child to hospital in Rajshahi, Bangladesh, 10-15 miles across this drought-parched land, the mother holding a saline drip all the way. For much of the year, the land is dead like this, but for four months it’s flooded. Either way, safe drinking water is scarce, crops can’t grow, health problems abound – from dehydration to infection – and transport is limited. This family’s journey succeeded, and the child was treated for her diarrhoea. But many of those who attempt this journey are not so lucky.

#14 Health in a Heating World (series): An Elegy for the Death of Hamun by Hashem Shakeri

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

For centuries, Sistan and Baluchestan has been a fertile region of Iran, with forests and productive cropland. But rapid climate change is turning it into a desert, bringing drought, hunger, unemployment and mass emigration.

#15 Until the Corn Grows Back by Lys Arango

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

Increasingly erratic climate patterns have produced year after year of failed harvests in Guatemala, forcing thousands of people to migrate, trying to escape poverty and malnutrition.

#16 Diving Maldives by Edoardo Delille and Giulia Piermartiri

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

As sea levels rise, the low-lying Maldives are predicted to be submerged by the end of the century. The government is working on solutions like barriers, and moving towards a net zero economy to promote sustainable living. To illustrate the future dangers, Edoardo Delille and Giulia Piermartiri projected tourist diving photos onto local scenes.

#17 Sun, Not Salt by Ayomitunde Adeleke

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

There’s evidence that rising temperatures are increasing the risk of skin cancer – a particular danger to people with albinism. In Nigeria, the connection is not always well understood, and people often think the symptoms are caused by eating too much salt.

#18 Burnt Memory: Archaeology from a Climate Emergency by Gideon Mendel and Jonathan Pierredon

Winning Photos Of Wellcome Photography Prize 2021

The Carr fire in 2018 was one of California’s most devastating wildfires ever, spreading across dry land and accelerated by a tornado. It destroyed 359 square miles of land and forced 36,000 people to evacuate, and its smoke spread across five states. Eight people died. Rising temperatures and extreme weather events make fires like this an ever-greater threat to human life. Gideon Mendel worked with Jonathan Pierredon to create tintype photos of damaged objects found in the ruins of people’s homes.

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