Which Photo (Or Three…) Best Represents 2022?

‘Til Pandemic Does Us Part | Excluded Audience | Amour by Christopher Parsons

Neale James, host of the Photowalk, challenged the ‘Extra Milers’ to look through our pictures and find one (or three…) which really spoke to our 2022. It could be a best photograph, or one that captures some memory or another, or really anything…the question was deliberately left pretty open to interpretation.

It served as a good experience for me. I went back through the past 11 months of images and, in the process, was reminded of numerous photos and experiences I’d forgotten about.

The first image (“‘til Pandemic Does Us Part”) speaks to how seriously some were still taking the pandemic much earlier in the year.

‘Til Pandemic Does Us Part by Christopher Parsons

The second (“Excluded Audience”) is very similar to an image I made in early 2020 which defined that stage of the pandemic in Toronto for me. “Excluded Audience” is meant to call back to that image and showcase that while things were going back to normal as the year progressed, that normal isn’t necessarily positive for everyone in the city. I’ve also included that reference image (“Down But Not Out”) below, after the set, just to indicate what I was trying to call back to.

Excluded Audience by Christopher Parsons

The final image of the year in this set (“Amour”) is meant to document how things are, today, with those in love able to see and hold one another amongst crowds once more. As a set, I think they have a symmetry in story and composition across them.

Amour by Christopher Parsons

And, finally, the reference image really just captures what Toronto was like in the early days of the pandemic when the entire downtown core had just shut down in its entirety.

Down But Not Out by Christopher Parsons

In terms of process for selecting photos, most years I start by reviewing images that I posted to social media that year, which in 2022 has been Glass. From the 300-365 images I work down to 30 images or so that best tell the story of the year. However, using this process I miss some photos that I really like but haven’t uploaded and, at the same time, include some images in the sort that I’ve somewhat fallen out of favour with since posting them.

All of which is to say: I think that going through and taking the time to review/re-examine all the images we’ve taken over a year is a splendid exercise, and especially because there’s a bit of time between when an image was captured and now. For me, at least, this helped to surface work that resonates more today than I think that it did when I first made it.

How do you go through and review your photos annually? What’s your best photo or photo set of the year, and what’s the story behind them?

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