What your 2020 looked like in photos, part 4

From hundreds of submissions, here is a selection of our favourite images.

by Ryan White
30 December 2020, 8:00am

Normally at this time of year, we reach out to a handful of photographers and regular contributors and ask them to submit a selection of photos under the heading: My Year in Photos. It’s a chance for the artist to look back and remember their year via images from their archive that may have otherwise gone unseen. (If you’ve never checked out the series before, find it here).

But 2020, of course, has felt very different to the years that came before it, and with that in mind, we wanted to honour this dramatic shift with a different perspective on the last 12 months. So we opened up submissions to everyone and asked i-D followers — be it a professional, amateur, or rarely-ever photographer — to submit a single image that attempts to encapsulate their 2020, if such a thing was possible.

There were hundreds of responses, from all over the world, and – sadly – too many to publish altogether. But we’ve narrowed it down to 100, 25 per day for the final five days of 2020. There’s tears, laughter, embraces, isolation, protests and moments of peace, that, without wanting to fall too deep into cliché, speak to a shared experience felt from Tanzania to Taiwan, Wuhan to the West Country.

armed guards and barbed fences

Margarita, 22, Minsk, Belarus

“Strength in unity. Belarusian protest revived the nation.”

a woman in the shower

Milan Wheaton, 23, New York

“Everything about 2020 — white supremacy, COVID-19, police brutality, cancelled vacations, masks, Zoom birthdays, fake allies, and canceled ‘fits’ can kiss my grateful, blessed ass.” 

a man being punched by a boxing glove

Rendell Catbagan, 23, Vancouver, Canada.

“I think this photo sums up my year perfectly, because if I were to label this photo, the boxing glove would be all the punches '2020' threw at me and the model would be me trying to take all the hits.”

a woman in pink light in her mirror

Celine Dagher, 23, Lebanon

“This image sums up my 2020 because being stuck in front of the mirror in my room gave me no choice but to truly look at myself and to really get to know me… for the first time ever!”

a dead fly under a lightbulb

Tang Siyu, 27, Dubai

“The ignorant know no fear.”

an underpass lit up at night

Ned Robinson-Jones, 17, Kent, England

“2020 brought paths I didn’t think I was going to end up down.”

a man crying

Dario Day, 28, Los Angeles

“2020 has forced me to grown into myself without asking questions.”

a woman looking at portraits of putin and xi jinping

Yuma, 19, Buryatia, Russia

“I finally took off the veil from my eyes. Art was always something that I needed, but only now I found the power in myself to devote my life to this. Through all these discomfort I found calmness and confidence in what I do.”

a man being handed an ice cream

Sonal Naroth, 31, New York

“The boy in this photo represents me this year because just about everything felt out of reach but the fact remains, that right after I clicked this image, the dad handed over the ice cream to the kid who went on to enjoy it with his sister and so if I were a believer in signs, I think it means that 2021 is going to turn out better.”

a man with a beard lying down looking up

Daphne Milner, 24, London

“I took this picture of Marcel, my boyfriend, shortly after the first lockdown was announced, during a moment of reflection on the uncertainty we were both facing; we had so many questions about our futures and about reuniting with our families, and so few answers — nine months would eventually go by from when this picture was taken before we could see my family again.”

a window's shadow on a wall

Hanna Lidberg, 21, Stockholm 

“This year has been all about finding the beauty in Stockholm, since I’ve been kinda stuck here.”

friends chatting on a doorstep with balloons on the door

Fuchsia Summerfield, 26, Manchester

"The year doorstep dancing became the new normal."

three people looking over the edge of a boat

Paolo De Luca, 21, Napoli, Italy 

"These three people, shot on a boat in Sicily before lockdown, reminded me of my family.”

a girl with a face mask over her eyes

Esther Mollie Vöge-Widding, 19, Copenhagen

“A reality even your dreams can’t escape.”

Desert Mountain Colorado

Manuel Lanz, 19, Atlanta, Georgia

“I don't really have a way to sum up the year with this photo, however the photo just brings me peace which is definitely not something I've had much of this year so it's my best in that regard.”

a woman floating in water

Antigoni, 16, Greece

“My 2020 was mostly spent in or near the sea and it helped get rid of negative energy.”

a foxcub

Jo, 31, London

“The world’s going to shit but the fox cubs are happy.” 

a man sitting on a bench in paris

Kenneth Tini, 21, Paris

"I took this picture while I was walking around Paris after the first lockdown, I only had my phone with me. The streets were empty, and I ran into this old man sitting alone on that bench, and it was very poetic."

a face half covered by shadow

Naya Timinskaya, 19, Moscow

“2020 made me hesitant because it was quite controversial: it was black as the shadow in this photograph, tough and vile, yet there were some good moments and there is still hope for a better life.” 


All images courtesy of the artist

my year in a photo