2020 – Can We Have a Do Over Please?

2020 has definitely been a year that I, and I assume most of us, would like “a do over” if it was ever possible. We have witnessed so many terrible, tragic events such as the bush fires that ripped through the East Coast of Australia leveling thousands of homes, and sadly killing many Australians either trying to flee or fight the fires plus the unfortunate loss of up to a million native animals, COVID 19 tore through towns, cities and countries across the globe creating death and division amongst people, only to be followed by protests with many becoming violent pitching neighbor against neighbor. Death visited many families and took away loved ones way to soon, much like my Mum passing away, alone in a nursing home and her husband unable to be beside her due to COVID 19, only then to realise our family would not be able to attend her funeral due to state border closures and quarantine measures was gut wrenching.

Thankfully photographers and film makers from all walks of life documented many of these tragic, terrible and some times violent events and hopefully these millions of images and hours of video will serve an important visual record for future generations to look back and learn from our mistakes so they are not repeated well into the future.

The review of 2020 will be a little different this year. Its not just going to concentrate on the Top 20 photos of 2020 but rather a reflection of what I photographed in 2020 and the year started off with a bang. The first collection of photos was captured during the Australia Day protest march, also known as Invasion day by Indigenous Australians. I often find the best way to capture that shot is to be in amongst the protesters where the emotion is at its most raw and that is how I captured the below photo of an Indigenous Elder who has nothing but sadness in his eyes.

Early February, I learned Flickr had been acquired by SmugMug and the CEO had written a letter about how they were losing money. After some research and rejoining Flickr and not wanting Flickr to suffer the same fate as Google Plus, I stuck my hand in my pocket and become a Flickr Pro member. For an Australian this is not a cheap exercise as the exchange rate fluctuates and Flickr only offers Pro Flickr accounts in approx. three currencies, and the Australian dollar is not one of them.

The Black Lives Matter movement in the US grew rapidly and unfortunately spiraled out of control with people losing their lives. Here in Perth, Australia the protest organisers refused to heed the state government’s warning not to hold the protest due to likely COVID breaches but the organisers went ahead with the protest whilst managing COVID safe practices, it was pretty much a peaceful protest with the majority wearing masks and observing social distancing. The protest also provided many photographers who had been stuck inside for quite some time an opportunity to get out and photograph the people and the event.

After a long period of lock down my wife and I had an opportunity to escape to the Australian outback and go camping, the best way to isolate is be in the middle of nowhere with no one else around. Apart from nearly running out of fuel…..twice during the trip we managed to four wheel drive our way to the most Western point of Australia, Steep Point. It took over 3 hours but it was well worth it. Also managed to sneak in a visit to Natures Window in Kalbarri National Park.

Visited the Busselton area where I spotted several young men jumping off the Southern Hemispheres longest jetty into the cold Indian ocean, asked if they minded if I took a few shots and lo and behold, one of them pulled out a kids scooter and lept of the jetty.

Early November, myself and a small group of mates attempted and conquered a remote four wheel drive track. It was an epic adventure with all but one of the vehicles sustaining some sort of damage but as it turned out it was a much needed getaway for our mental health.

And lastly I visited mates who are veterans struggling through 2020 and we walked through the bush and talked about the old times, mates who are no longer with us and how we hope 2021 will be better, for all of us.

If you have made it this far, from the bottom of my heart, Thank you

Here’s to a better 2021, until next time…….

Penny for your thoughts . . .

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