Time to Change launches mental health photo competition with Getty images

Time to Change and Getty Images are challenging photographers to re-picture mental health in a new competition.

Running from 1 August to 4 September, the partnership aims to broaden the range of visuals associated with mental health and help us move away from the stereotypical and over-used ‘head-clutcher’ image. We want to encourage the photographic community and the wider public to consider ways in which people with lived experience of mental health problems would like to see themselves represented.

To help inspire entrants, Time to Change asked its supporters to identify words they would use to describe how it feels to live with a mental health problem. Responses include: shadow, dark, thoughts, tree, trying, glass and constantly.

When asked to identify words to describe how it feels to receive the right support, respondents said: warmth, calmness, sun, relief, closeness and a sense of safety.

The words used to describe stigma were: worthless, humiliating, isolating, judge, hurt and pain.

The competition is open to anyone whether you’re an amateur or a professional photographer. Time to Change and Getty Images invite you to re-visualise mental health imagery. You might want to use the concepts above, or gain your own insight from speaking to people with lived experience of mental health problems, or your own experiences. Images don’t have to be literal.

Diversity and inclusion are important – consider differing abilities, cultures and ages. Avoid clichéd images such as a person with their head in their hands or someone looking out of a window.

To enter, submit up to 15 images to the online Getty Images competition platform, where you can also find the full brief.

A range of fantastic prizes are on offer, including photography equipment provided by Getty Images.

The judges


Judge Andy GottsAndy Gotts

Andy Gotts MBE is a celebrity photographer based in London, England, and New York, USA. He is most noted for his black and white portraits of Hollywood actors and singers. Since 1990 Gotts' work has been published internationally and has appeared in many magazines and campaigns, including; GQ, Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE and many more.


Judge Stuart SempleStuart Semple

Stuart Semple is one of Britain’s leading contemporary artists, who has exhibited all over the world, whilst he is also an ambassador for the mental health charity Mind. After a traumatic near death experience following a sudden allergic reaction in his teens, Stuart was left with severe anxiety and an eating disorder. His experience of the therapeutic power of creating art led Stuart to help set up the Creative Therapies Fund, which allows local Minds to provide creative therapies. He launched this with an art exhibition and fundraiser entitled Mindful, which featured work by artists including The Chapman Brothers, Tracey Emin and Sebastian Horsely


Judge Martin UsborneMartin Usborne

Martin Usborne is a photographer and co-founder of publishing company Hoxton Mini Press. He’s had his work in lots of places and it’s quite good (blah, blah) but more importantly has suffered from depression and anxiety and is keen to promote greater awareness and compassion for the miserable condition.


Judge Sue BakerSue Baker OBE

Sue Baker OBE is the Director at Time to Change.

Sue is responsible for leading and delivering Time to Change, England’s biggest campaign to change how we all think and act about mental health.


Judge Andrew SaundersAndrew Saunders

Andrew Saunders is the Senior Vice President, Creative at Getty Images. Getty Images is the world’s leading visual communications company with an award-winning image and video collection of over 200 million assets.