The South Brooklyn Network extended invitations to different artists to share their 20 images of 2020. It is interesting to see what individuals captured and how we used photography to document and share our year of life in bubbles.

Our contributors are:
Mark D Phillips, The South Brooklyn Network photographer and editor-in-chief
Steve Desmond, owner and creator of Desmond Skis
Tonja Smith, North Carolina painter
Sarah Foley, Massachusetts Hilltown photographer

Mark D Phillips: 20 favorite images of 2020, a year like no other.

What do you photograph while you Shelter in Place? The images are different from the past, not a single sports photo made the cut, and nature played a heavy hand.

But my favorite by far is “Tribute in Light” because of the story behind it. (Tribute in Light: 9/11/2020; EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY collection by Mark D Phillips) I drove down to New York and spent the night going to different locations. In the hours leading up to midnight, many of the overlooks had photographers and couples, quiet and reverant, marveling at the twin beams of light climbing more than four miles into the sky. There was a somber feeling as everyone wore masks and maintained social distance in Brooklyn Bridge Park and on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. It felt much more like the first anniversary than the nineteenth anniversary.

Finally at 4:30 in the morning, I went to Valentino pier in Redhook, Brooklyn. As I walked the length of the pier, I thought it was a waste of time as the shoreline of the cove blocked the view of the island of Manhattan. Just when I was ready to turn around and leave, I moved to the very end of the pier, leaning against the railing. And there it was, the smallest sliver of open water where the pier just passed the end of the shoreline.

©Mark D Phillips, 20 of 2020, a year like no other.

76 Trombones Alone” shows New York City as a very lonely place in September, six months into the COVID-19 pandemic. Times Square with no people immediately puts you into a dystopian novel. Being alone in the Crossroads of the World is surreal.

2020 was a banner year for the Gowanus Canal as the EPA’s Superfund cleanup kicked into high gear. The days of oil slicks may actually be numbered. And the banks are seeing a level of gentrification that boggles the mind. Have I photographed my last oil shape on its surface?

We all hope for a return to our “normal” lives. I hope to photograph more ski racing in 2021, and to watch my daughter play in her final year of college Field Hockey. Happy New Year from The South Brooklyn Network. We hope you enjoy our gallery.

Learn More about Mark D Phillips

Steve Desmond: 20 favorite images of 2020, a year like no other.

When everything is shut down where do you go? To the great outdoors! We did a lot of hiking this year.  So did many others,  discovering or re-discovering the outdoors. There is so much to see and appreciate right in our own backyard and nearby.

I spent some time reacquainting myself with my camera, lighting, and photo software. Choosing my Top 20 photos was difficult. As I thought about the year and reconnecting with the outdoors, photography and other hobbies it became clearer.  

I hadn’t been to Tekoa Mountain since I was a kid. We’d blaze our own trails back then. Today you have trail apps that tell you if the trail is easy or hard, where the trail starts and ends, GPS location, and can track you as you’re hiking. Many of the hikes were nostalgic. I included black and white photos to give that nostalgic feel.

We all hope 2021 will bring back the ‘good old days’ and some normalcy. I know I will be spending more time outdoors, skiing, mountain biking, hiking and travelling with my family and my camera by my side.

©Steve Desmond, 20 of 2020, a year like no other.

Tonja Smith: 20 favorite images of 2020, a year like no other.

Tonja Smith finds wonder and awe in her life and strives to capture many of those moments with photographs as reference to retell the story with acrylic paints on canvas. 

Tonja and I go way back, all the way to high school. She is making her mark as a painter in western North Carolina.

Her first solo art show became a virtual event thanks to Covid-19. Life has changed everywhere including the mountains of North Carolina.

©Tonja Smith, 20 of 2020, a year like no other.

Sarah Foley: 20 favorite images of 2020, a year like no other.

2020 was the year for the ages.

As COVID 19 wreaked havoc around the world, “normal life” was postponed or cancelled altogether.  It was a year to appreciate and explore the natural world around me. “Social distancing” was a buzz word and all of a sudden living in a rural setting became a haven from global chaos. Being outside was a source of solace and exercise. 2020 was all about taking the time to soak up  what was around me.

These are some of my Top 20 of 2020: (In no particular ranking)

©Sarah Foley, 20 of 2020, a year like no other.