Wellcome Photography Prize has announced its 2020 shortlist, which features 44 photos by 25 professional, amateur and student photographers. The overall winner will receive a £15,000 prize, with additional £1,250 prizes going to the winners of five themed categories.

Returning for its second edition, this year’s prize has a special focus on mental health, an issue that has become even more urgent due to Covid-19. The prize aims to transform preconceptions and address how people affected are represented through the camera’s lens.

From more than 7,500 photographs submitted from 127 countries were selected within five categories:

  • Social perspectives – provide insight into the impact of health and disease on society.
  • Hidden worlds – reveal details hidden in plain sight, or combat health taboos.
  • Medicine in focus – explore healthcare delivery up close or from behind the scenes.
  • Mental health – single image – dispel the visual clichés of mental illness.
  • Mental health – series (up to five images) – tell a story through related images across the spectrum of mental health.

The full shortlist is: Jenevieve Aken, Poulomi Basu, Giacomo Infantino, J Houston, Patricia Morosan, Pierre Bureau, Maite Caramés, Marco Gualazzini, Julia Gunther and Sophia Mohammed, Light for the World, Sameer Satchu, Camila Falcão, Tom Merilion, Benji Reid, Lorena Ros, Jeffrey Stockbridge, Sebastian Mar, Arseniy Neskhodimov, Nyancho NwaNri, Therese Alice Sanne, Mirja Maria Thiel, Gianluca Urdiroz Agati, Julia Cybularz, Marijn Fidder, Ed Kashi, and Elisabetta Zavoli.

They were selected by a panel of judges from across photography, medicine, media and science, including: Chair of Judges Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome, Siân Davey, photographer; MaryAnne Golon, Washington Post; Dr Aiysha Malik, World Health Organization; John Moe, The Hilarious World of Depression podcast; Dr David Nott, David Nott Foundation; Azu Nwagbogu, African Artists’ Foundation and Lagos Photo Festival.

Miranda Wolpert, Head of Mental Health Priority Area at Wellcome, said: “In order to help the millions of people whose lives are affected by anxiety and depression it is vital that we find the next generation of treatments and approaches which work. It is clear from the stories and images throughout this years’ Wellcome Photography Prize that every individual experience of mental ill-health is personal.

“Our job is to find the 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.”

Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome and Wellcome Photography Prize Chair, added: “The photographs moved all six judges in different ways, both through technical expertise but crucially in the humanity that comes through. It’s about the narrative, it brings courage to all of us to share our experiences.”

The winner of individual categories and the overall winner will be announced during an online event commencing at 5pm BST on Wednesday 19 August 2020.

1. Therese Alice Sanne, Black Sun