Find out more about the Wellcome Image Awards as well as Wellcome Images, the image library behind the Awards.


The ancestor to photography is the camera obscura, which dates back to antiquity. Light was let into a darkened room through a small hole in the wall in order to project images of the scene outside onto the wall opposite. Photography relies on a similar idea, using a small compartment instead of a room, and rendering the images created in a permanent medium.

The first photographic processes were not invented until the 1830s, and their evolution into modern photography and its widespread use in the digital realm today have revolutionised visual communication.


2017 Wellcome Image Award winner: Two young boys in rural Nicaragua
Credit: Joshua Mcdonald

Still-life photography

Creating two-dimensional images of inanimate subjects, often using lighting techniques to better convey the shape and texture.


2016 Wellcome Image Award winner: Cow heart
Credit: Michael Frank, Royal Veterinary College