Bethlem photo wins Museum of the Year photography competition

After two weeks of public voting, Jodine Williams wins this year’s contest with a thought-provoking photo of London's Bethlem Museum of the Mind.

Bethlem Museum of the Mind © Jodine Williams

Jodine's photograph captures Museum of the Year finalist Bethlem Museum of the Mind with a pivotal message about mental health and the way it influences our understanding of others and ourselves. In 2015, the museum was re-opened by Grayson Perry in an art deco building at Bethlem Royal Hospital, the UK’s oldest psychiatric institution. Among its exhibits are metal and textile restraints, patient portraits from the mid-19th century, and the celebrated statues Raving and Melancholy Madness, by Caius Gabriel Gibber.

Jodine Williams said of her victory: 'I chose Bethlem because mental health is an issue that is very important to me. When my close friend was diagnosed with a mental illness, I realised how uneducated I was about mental health overall. I feel that at any point in life, we or someone we know can suffer from a mental health issue and it's important to be prepared enough to support them through it. I chose Bethlem because it provides not only knowledge about mental health, but many have said it saves lives.

'I wanted my photo to portray a strong message about mental health, and I came up with it because someone close to me, as well as other people I know, have suffered. After working with people at the mental health charity, Mind, I want them and others to know that their mental health is not the only aspect to them.'

Over 6,500 votes were cast in this year's competition to find the best picture of a Museum of the Year finalist. The shortlist of five photos – one of each finalist museum (see gallery below) – was hand-picked by renowned photographer Rankin.

Rankin had this to say about the winning entry: 'Mental health is such an important issue and something we could all do with learning more about. This photograph is a stripped back and candid reflection of that. I think it is brilliant that a museum and hospital is focusing on depicting something that affects all our lives in this way. I want to be involved in working with Bethlem in the future.'

Jodine wins a photography holiday in Berlin courtesy of Frui Creative Holidays and Courses, a Lomography camera, and publication of her winning picture in Art Quarterly's autumn 2016 issue, out in September. In addition, she and the other four competition finalists will receive a National Art Pass and a copy of the best-selling book Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs by Henry Carroll, photographer, writer, and co-founder of Frui.

The winner of the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year will be announced on Wednesday 6 July 2016 by the Duchess of Cambridge. The finalists for this year’s prize are Arnolfini, Bethlem Museum of the Mind, Jupiter Artland, Victoria and Albert Museum, and York Art Gallery.

Explore the other photographs shortlisted by Rankin:

Venue details

Bethlem Museum of the Mind London BR3 3BX

Entry details

Free to all

Tags: competitionsMuseums and galleriesmuseum-of-the-year