The Lennart Nilsson Award

The Lennart Nilsson Award Foundation was established in 1998 in recognition of the world-renowned Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson and his extraordinary body of work. It's main aim is to promote education, training and research within the medical, biological and engineering sciences through the use of images.

The awarded amount is SEK 120 000 and the prize ceremony will take place in connection with the installation ceremony for new professors at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm.

Large pyramidal neurons (green) and dense amyloid plaques (red)  in the cortex of a person who died in Alzheimer’s disease.

Prize winner 2024 - Csaba Adori

Csaba Adori, neurobiologist at the Department of Molecular Biosciences, Stockholm University, and affiliated to the Department of Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet, receives the award for his outstanding work in 3D imaging of the body’s tissues.


Csaba Adori is awarded the 2024 Lennart Nilsson Award for his scientific 3D photography of tissues. In the spirit of Lennart Nilsson, he reveals not only the scientific aspects of the tissue structure or its pathology, but also the beauty of anatomical details. His artistic images provide an overview of several millimeters with micrometer resolution, contributing to the scientific understanding of structures such as the inner ear and the human brainstem. His material is used in teaching, and he reaches outside the academic world by sharing videos of the human 3D microcosmos, provoking curiosity and fascination.

Press release

Photographer Lennart Nilsson Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

About Lennart Nilsson

Born in Strängnäs, Sweden, on August 24, 1922, Lennart Nilsson began his career as a freelance photojournalist. His work spans more than seven decades, beginning in the early 1940s when modern photojournalism made its breakthrough in Sweden.

His early photographic essays, including A Midwife in Lapland (1945), Polar Bear Hunting in Spitzbergen (1947), Congo (1948) and Sweden in Profile (1954) gained international attention through publication in leading photojournalism magazines such as Life, Picture Post and Illustrated.

In the 1950s, Nilsson began experimenting with new photographic techniques including macro- and microphotography, which led to the books, Ants (Myror) and Life in the Sea (Liv i hav).

In the 1960s, the use of specially designed, ultra-slim endoscopes made it possible for Nilsson to capture on film the inner workings of blood vessels and various cavities of the human body. The book A Child is Born (Ett barn blir till) first published in 1965 is undoubtedly Nilsson’s most famous work.

In the 1970s, Nilsson began to use the scanning electron microscope to capture images of the inner workings of the human body. This shift in the focus of his work gave Nilsson the opportunity to work on the premises of Karolinska Institute.

What remains remarkable is the combination of his unending patience to fully explore his subjects, combined with a journalist’s eye, artist’s sense of form and colour, and technician’s inventive skills to maximize available light and capture spectacular images.

In 1976 Lennart Nilsson was awarded an honorary doctorate at Karolinska Institutet. In 2009 he was given the title Professor’s name by the Swedish Government and in 2012 he was awarded the Karolinska Institutet Jubilee Medal (Gold class) for his long-standing and groundbreaking contributions to the development and innovative advancement of medical photography.

Lennart Nilsson passed away in January 2017.

Content reviewer:
Anne Thyrfing