These Award-Winning Photographs Explore Mental Health During Lockdown

·2-min read

A beautifully evocative photo of a filmmaker using knitting to manage her mental health during lockdown has won a top photography prize.

"Untangling" by London-based filmmaker Jameisha Prescod triumphed in the Managing Mental Health (single image) category at the Wellcome Photography Prize 2021.

The powerful photograph illuminates the way that the isolation of lockdown exacerbated Prescod's depression as she spent much of her time alone in the "concentrated chaos" of her bedroom.

"It's where I work a full-time job, eat, sleep, catch up with friends and most importantly cry," Prescod says, pointing out that knitting proved soothing by allowing her to put "everything else on pause" for a while.

Prescod receives a £10,000 prize for her photograph – as does Indonesian visual storyteller Yoppy Pieter. "Trans Woman: Between Colour and Voice", Pieters' series chronicling how the Covid-19 pandemic has made life harder for trans women in Indonesia, triumphed in the Fighting Infections (series) category.

More than 10,000 images from all over the world were submitted for the Wellcome Photography Prize 2021. Check out a selection of winning photographs in this slideshow.

<br><strong>A photo from the "Trans Woman: Between Colour and Voice" series by Yoppy Pieter</strong><br><br><em>Mira (not her real name) is a sex worker in Jakarta. Covid restrictions mean that she can no longer work in the street, so she is working from home using the internet. “I have no option and need to work to pay rent and living expenses,” she says. </em><br><br>About this series: 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. <br><span class="copyright">Photographed by Yoppy Pieter</span>

A photo from the "Trans Woman: Between Colour and Voice" series by Yoppy Pieter

Mira (not her real name) is a sex worker in Jakarta. Covid restrictions mean that she can no longer work in the street, so she is working from home using the internet. “I have no option and need to work to pay rent and living expenses,” she says.

About this series: 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.
Photographed by Yoppy Pieter
<strong>A photo from the "ADHD Portraits" series by Nora Nord</strong><br><br><em>Calm (she/her) has long struggled with depression and anxiety, and recently she learned she has ADHD. She says she’d always thought it was something only energetic cis white boys had. “Recently my dreams keep coming true, like clairvoyant! It made me think I’m going mad, and being here I’m like, I’m not going crazy.” </em><br><br>About this series: 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.<span class="copyright">Photographed by Nora Nord</span>
A photo from the "ADHD Portraits" series by Nora Nord

Calm (she/her) has long struggled with depression and anxiety, and recently she learned she has ADHD. She says she’d always thought it was something only energetic cis white boys had. “Recently my dreams keep coming true, like clairvoyant! It made me think I’m going mad, and being here I’m like, I’m not going crazy.”

About this series: 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.Photographed by Nora Nord
"<strong>Disconnected" by Kate Rosewell</strong><br><br><em>Experiences of dissociation involve feeling separated from yourself, like watching your life as if it were a film. Distanced self-portraits like this one capture a sense of that for Kate Rosewell, and help her to make sense of what’s in her mind. Dissociation can be a way of deflecting intense trauma, but it can also occur in less extreme situations, not least the isolation of lockdown, which in another way has separated so many of us from reality.</em><br><br><br><span class="copyright">Photo: Kate Rosewell</span>
"Disconnected" by Kate Rosewell

Experiences of dissociation involve feeling separated from yourself, like watching your life as if it were a film. Distanced self-portraits like this one capture a sense of that for Kate Rosewell, and help her to make sense of what’s in her mind. Dissociation can be a way of deflecting intense trauma, but it can also occur in less extreme situations, not least the isolation of lockdown, which in another way has separated so many of us from reality.


Photo: Kate Rosewell
<br><strong>"Head in Hole" by Dulcie Wagstaff </strong><br><br><em>To help with her depression, Dulcie Wagstaff works in her garden. On this winter’s day, she confronted the cold with a summery floral dress and imagined burying herself, “connecting with the earth whilst hiding from the world above”. She says: “Gardening in winter is a defiant act, against the elements and our human instinct to stay indoors in the short, dark days. However in this instance it is a lifeline, in search of light, connection, movement and purpose.”</em><span class="copyright">Photographed by Dulcie Wagstaff </span>

"Head in Hole" by Dulcie Wagstaff

To help with her depression, Dulcie Wagstaff works in her garden. On this winter’s day, she confronted the cold with a summery floral dress and imagined burying herself, “connecting with the earth whilst hiding from the world above”. She says: “Gardening in winter is a defiant act, against the elements and our human instinct to stay indoors in the short, dark days. However in this instance it is a lifeline, in search of light, connection, movement and purpose.”Photographed by Dulcie Wagstaff
<strong>A photograph from the "2 Metres: Masked Portraits on Ridley Road" series by Gideon Mendel, assisted by Maria Quigley)</strong><br><br><em>Elam Forrester, film maker. “Everything stopped at the end of March. I got a mild version of the virus and isolated myself beyond the recommended time as I had lost my sense of taste and smell. Keeping one’s distance in shops, buses and busy streets is challenging so wearing a mask feels like the safest option.”</em><br><br>About this series: 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.<br><br><span class="copyright">Photographed by Gideon Mendel</span>
A photograph from the "2 Metres: Masked Portraits on Ridley Road" series by Gideon Mendel, assisted by Maria Quigley)

Elam Forrester, film maker. “Everything stopped at the end of March. I got a mild version of the virus and isolated myself beyond the recommended time as I had lost my sense of taste and smell. Keeping one’s distance in shops, buses and busy streets is challenging so wearing a mask feels like the safest option.”

About this series: 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.

Photographed by Gideon Mendel

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