Main picturePhotography by Annie Lai
Social distancing, shocking news cycles and regained freedoms: it is safe to say that 2021 has been a bit of a roller coaster. Although it has been shaped by the global challenges that presided over 2020 and by an ever-evolving “new normal”, it has also been a time of fresh beginnings; reconnection and renewal. But how do photographers reflect on the past 12 months? As the year draws to a close, we’ve invited ten image makers who are part of the AnOther community to share a photograph that best represents this unique time. For some, like Lucie Rox, who published her second zine this spring, it was a year that brought creative “self-confidence”; while for others, like Kuba Ryniewicz and Paul Phung, this time around it was about reconnecting with community, cherishing friendships and reminding ourselves “that there is nothing wrong with slowing down. “.
Here, in their own words, the photographers share the story behind their chosen images.
“This image was taken in Margate at the end of August. It was a cool, overcast morning until we got to the coast, when it cleared up and the sky turned so blue it was almost turquoise. I like the way they are here. Scattered under the sun, at peace among their peers.
“’New Normal’ is the theme for 2021. We have all had to adapt to an ever-changing world. I came to appreciate the little joys and harmony in life more. I am grateful for the healing power of nature. I look forward to many more times like this to come.
“I chose an image of WATERCOLOR, a zine I produced in collaboration with makeup artist Crystabel Riley and self-published in April of this year. The making of this zine has been a very important milestone of my year, as it crystallized the evolution of my creativity, my state of mind and my self-confidence to do things with little compromise after the previous months. containment and pandemic. This is the first step for me to approach this year with an approach more true to myself, my heritage and my visual roots, sowing the seeds of what will continue to bloom throughout the year.
“2021 was for me the year in which I was able to reconnect with the neighborhood and my environment. I spent a lot of time in the garden and in the fields just outside my house in Newcastle. This year has also been special since I managed to publish my first monograph which covers all these moments.
“Much of my year has been spent in Scotland with my girlfriend and our dog. I feel very lucky to be there with them. This photo sums up why.
“I’ve spent most of this year as someone else, this is ‘Jackie’ from the Adams Hotel.”
“This photo is from a recent personal project where I reunited with my longtime collaborator Connor Scott after a two-year separation due to a pandemic. This year has taught me to truly cherish your friendships and that there is nothing wrong with slowing down and taking some time for yourself.
“Be sensitive, but surreal.”
“I think the overwhelming feeling of the year was the lack of clarity, knowing that every situation would probably turn into something unforeseen and strange. Here’s a misty swamp outside of Mystic Island, New Jersey, which sums up that feeling pretty well for me.
“It was a year of complete stillness. Not belonging to any time or space.
“I took this photo at the beginning of this year and I keep coming back to it. It’s about fear and determination, I don’t know if she’s running away or towards something and it’s both terrifying and liberating.