Loneliness, concerts, window visits: 2020 captured in photographs

·10 min read

We will remember 2020 as a year of heartbreak and heartwarming moments, of triumphs and losses.

CBC Saskatchewan wanted to get your perspective. We asked for photographs that sum up how you feel about 2020.

Here are some of the images our listeners and readers shared.

Submitted by Brandy Lansdell
Submitted by Brandy Lansdell

Brandy Lansdell was expecting her second child after three miscarriages. Then the pandemic hit. Her mother, usually one of her main supporters, now had to be at arm's-length.

Lansdell and her husband had to go to Brandon, Manitoba, for the birth, as they lived in Moosomin, Sask. Thankfully it went well and she was home when her baby boy, Ren, was two days old.

With her mother being a high school teacher the family had to meet through a window.

"It was really hard. It was really sad," Lansdell said. "I hope he never has to experience or go through it in his life."

When school went on a break, Lansdell's mother isolated then came to hold her baby grandson. The family still took precautions, like putting a sheet over her clothing so Ren didn't touch her clothes.

"She held him and bawled her eyes out," she said. "I was just, just really emotional. I just felt like really proud that I created this human and he was finally getting to actually meet other people.

"No matter what happened in this crazy year, we were all still together."

Submitted by Megan Evans
Submitted by Megan Evans

Megan Evans and her now-husband had planned to elope on April 28, 2020, to be married on the anniversary of their first date. The pandemic shut down plan after plan.

After it all, the two decided to be married in a driveway with a dress from a thrift shop. The couple held their wedding at eight in the morning on the pavement. Evans said that wasn't exactly the dream scenario, but the two loved each other and simply wanted to tie the knot.

Evans said the two were masked during the ceremony to protect the officiant. When it was time to "kiss the bride," the couple laughed.

"We just did kind of a silly, like kiss with the mask. But it ended up being one of my favourite pictures because I think it kind of captures a lot of happiness and a really weird time," she said. "It felt kind of triumphant, actually, to pull it off with all of these things going on."

Submitted by Stephanie Prpick-Boss
Submitted by Stephanie Prpick-Boss

On Oct. 9, Stephanie Prpick-Boss lost her mother. Due to the pandemic, the funeral had to be a lot smaller than expected. Not long after, Prpick-Boss's father wanted to visit his wife at St. Andrew's Cemetery and leave flowers.

While he looked over the grave of his wife of 62 years, Prpick-Boss captured a rare and emotional moment of her 91-year-old father.

"It just shows love," Prpick-Boss said. "You could see the loss of my mom has been very difficult. I think capturing the photo really showed 62 years of their their marriage and their love and how much she really meant to him and just the void."

Her mother Bea was a selfless companion whose life revolved around family, friends and her community, Prpick-Boss said.

"There's so many people who are going through a loss or have gone through a loss," she said,

"My heart goes out to many people and it's a very difficult time."

Submitted by Justin Johnson
Submitted by Justin Johnson

Justin Johnson felt a rush of adrenaline as he captured a snowy Saskatoon moment in December. He said pandemic restrictions have made it a frustrating year for him, but the photo reignited something inside him.

"It reminds me with all the crazy things that are going on in the world we can still carry on with our activities, we just have to adjust and improvise how we do so," he said.

"I hope people don't feel trapped and or on lockdown. I hope this inspires them to go out and explore more then we ever have outside our front door and see what home has to offer."

Rona Andreas/Submitted by Eric Anderson
Rona Andreas/Submitted by Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson glows when talking about the residents at Sherbrooke Community Centre, where he works, but said a photograph of resident Dave talking on the phone is bittersweet.

Sherbrooke had until recently avoided any COVID-19 cases.

The home stopped in-person family visits when the pandemic hit and turned to virtual visits or good old fashion phone calls.

"I'm not sure who Dave is speaking with in this moment, but I do love the smile on his face because I think there is something intimate about hearing a loved one's voice right in your ear," Anderson said.

"It shows that even in the midst of a lot of of challenging moments for care homes across Saskatchewan and across the country, you could have these moments of real meaning and joy with something as simple as a telephone call."

The image was taken by Rona Andreas, an occupational therapy assistant at the home, and shared with permission. Anderson said it shows that there have been challenging moments as seniors have had to give up certain things in the name of safety.

"There's a segment of our population that that deserves more attention within our society," Anderson said. "For lack of a better term, I hope people give a damn about long-term care after seeing this photo."

Submitted by Chantelle McLeod
Submitted by Chantelle McLeod

Chantelle McLeod was sitting around a campfire near Courtenay Lake, Sask., this summer with family, relaxing and watching the northern lights dance. Her area had no known COVID-19 cases at the time, so it was safe to gather with family.

"It makes me wish that I was out camping away from everything again and I realize now how much of a blessed moment that was," McLeod said. "I hope people take this photo and just look at it with mesmerizing eyes and realize that we shouldn't take the little things for granted because in the blink of an eye it can all change."

Submitted by Tracey Wawryk
Submitted by Tracey Wawryk

Tracey Wawryk said she was feeling chaotic when the photo of her visiting her granddaughter, Gray, through a window was shot. The image was taken on March 23, in the early days of the pandemic.

"Never in my wildest dreams would I think that i would not be able to enter my sons home and hug and kiss my granddaughters," she said. "I had to be brave for my grandkids, but I cried all the way home. It just broke my heart."

Wawryk is an essential lab worker at the city hospital and said it's been hard throughout the pandemic. She said there's been tears, fears, frustration and cheers at work. Wawryk said that when the restrictions lift, she's going to have a small Christmas with the grandchildren, but that this image captures how she's felt throughout the year.

"This photo represents every mom, every grandmother, every person who is missing the people that they love most in the world and are unable to be with them," Wawryk said. "It represents all of us in this world as, sadly, this is what our world has become."

Bryan Eneas/CBC
Bryan Eneas/CBC

Early 2020 was marked by protests in response to RCMP enforcement of a B.C. Supreme Court injunction sought by Coastal GasLink to protect pipeline work on Wet'suwet'en territory in central British Columbia. By Feb. 8, 2020, about 10 people had been arrested.

About 100 people blocked traffic on the Albert Street bridge in Regina. The gathering was meant to offer prayers and messages of support and solidarity.

During the protest, a blue vehicle attempted to drive through the crowd. CBC reporter Bryan Eneas captured the moment the vehicle was met by protestors.

Janelle Wallace/Submitted by Eric Anderson
Janelle Wallace/Submitted by Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson and Janelle Wallace took a walk in early April to see what it was like along Broadway in Saskatoon. The typically bustling street was quiet, with barely a car going by.

Wallace snapped images while Anderson recorded the sounds for his YXE Underground podcast. Anderson said he believes this image shows how drastic the change has been in 2020.

"When I see that photo, it's inspiring in a way, because I think in many ways the pandemic has brought out the best in the community," Anderson said.

"Just slowing down and maybe enjoying those simple pleasures that they maybe were too busy to do before. I hope people take away that in terms of how peaceful that picture looks."

Submitted by Lee Miller
Submitted by Lee Miller

Lee Miller saw the fog outside on a December night in Regina, grabbed his camera and headed downtown. The Regina photographer said that in that moment he was really sensing the "feeling of 2020."

"It just sums up the Christmas that we had, the experience, the fear, the loneliness of it, the gloominess and how different and quiet it is," Miller said of his image.

However, there's a beauty to all this, he said. It serves as a reminder to look forward, Miller said.

"We're nearing the end and we've got through the holiday season and there's light at the end of the tunnel."

Submitted by Jacki Andre
Submitted by Jacki Andre

Live music is Jacki Andre's "thing" and what she really plans her social life around, she said. The pandemic shifted everything. Andre lost her elderly dog, Archie, has been working from home since March and has been alone more than ever before.

"I usually go to about 30 concerts a year all over Canada. I'm able to store up a lot of the joy and energy that I experience at concerts, that helps carry me between shows. So I needed to figure out a way to still find some joy," Andre said.

Andre watched a lot of online concerts, but there was still something missing. Then in the summer, Brett Kissel started doing drive-in concerts. Andrew said she was skeptical at first, but the experience was wonderful. Before the concert, she captured her two friends Pamela Cleveland and Tanya Kuttai holding up signs on the back up the truck where they all stood.

"That big blue sky, friends and love surrounding me, live music about to start. I've always believed that we need to actively chase joy," she said. "You need to seek it out ... Joy is important, always, but never more so than this year."

Heidi Atter/CBC
Heidi Atter/CBC

The spring of 2020 was marked by protests following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

Regina activists held multiple protests outside of the Saskatchewan Legislature. Organizers said racism is a problem in Saskatchewan.

"A lot of people here think that Canada isn't racist," Faith Olanipekun, one of the organizers, said on June 2, 2020. "So it's important for us to come out, voice our concerns and let people know that we are suffering in Canada just as much as people in the U.S."

Submitted by Aaron Thomson
Submitted by Aaron Thomson

University students Aaron Thomson and his girlfriend Zoey had to switch from their usual routines as they grappled with online classes. Thomson said the two were fortunate overall, as they and their families are in good health.

During the summer months, the two took a few trips together. It was a change from the usual plan of being with friends. Thomson said he hopes the photograph reminds people to appreciate the small moments with loved ones.

"Get outside when you can and appreciate others and tell them how much they mean to you," Thomson said. "Enjoy what's around you."

Submitted by Mike Singleton
Submitted by Mike Singleton

Mike Singleton said the year has been unlike any other for him. He's usually photographing families, but that couldn't always be done safely during the pandemic. Instead, he turned to driving down back roads.

On the day this photo was taken, the sun started to break.

"It definitely was almost a thrill to see how everything seemed to be at that moment all coming together and making something special," he said. "It was one of those moments you just feel lucky to have been at the right spot and the right time."

Singleton said he hopes the photograph reminds people there are better days ahead.

"There will be a new day to face and hopefully have it be better than the days that came before."