Uzbekistan-born photographer wins Wellcome prize for series on his depression

Arseniy Neskhodimov has been named as the overall winner of the Wellcome Photography Prize for his self-portrait series on his depression.

Prozac features five images exploring his experience of the condition, which he has suffered since the age of 20, and continues his focus on visual identity.

Finding antidepressants unhelpful, he decided to leave Moscow to chronicle his experiences at his parents’ house and in Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt.

Neskhodimov, who was born in 1981 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, was also the winner of the mental health series category.

He received £15,000, plus £1,250 for his category win.

He said: “My self-portrait stories are a kind of therapy that help me fight off the attacks of despair and loss of meaning, especially in this difficult pandemic time.

“I’ve been trapped at home out of a job for three months and the only thing that brings some sense into my life is to keep taking pictures.”

Neskhodimov triumphed from a shortlist of 25 photographers from 13 countries, chosen by an expert panel of judges from across photography, medicine, media and science.

Marijn Fidder’s Cards won the social perspectives category, Jenevieve Aken’s Monankim won the hidden worlds category, Julia Gunther and Sophia Mohammed’s Hadia won the medicine in focus category, and Benji Reid’s Holding On To Daddy triumphed in the mental health single image category.

The winners were announced in an online event on Wednesday, hosted by Dame Cilla Snowball.

Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome and chairman of the Wellcome Photography Prize, said: “Unfortunately mental health is still in the shadows despite being a subject that we’re all touched by, whether directly or through our friends and family.

“When subjects stay in the shadows they remain stigmatised, but by bringing them out into the open this power is lost, helping reinforce that it is normal and we can talk about it.”