What your 2020 looked like in photos

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

by Ryan White
27 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.

a woman and the shadow of her hand

Sonia Lupșa, 20 years, Bucharest, Romania

 “I refused to see what was in front of me.”

a man's legs and feet sticking out on a train

Christoforos Kalantzis, 18, Plymouth

“Life isn't always a straight line.”

man stood in the middle of an empty plane

Karl-hens Pompilus, 22, Brooklyn

“The only time that I felt free and was truly myself.”

woman on a bicycle

Trang Trần, 28, Vietnam

“Healing process.”

My year in a photo.png

Aislinn Murray, 19, Maleny, Australia

“I don’t know how to function in social spaces anymore; my mind and body feel clumsy when I try to be with my friends.”

a boy with angel wings

Chinedu Nwakudu, 26, Atlanta

“This year to me was a reset, but this photo best speaks for me because I was protected by my Angels that kept guiding me.”

two people hugging on the floor

Luke Georgiades, 24, London

“I took this photo in Taipei around the first few months the pandemic hit — I don't know the context, but for me, this photo, and their embrace, summarises that bittersweet feeling of distance and, in a weird, paradoxical way, togetherness, that we've come to associate with 2020.”

person walking across a frosty road

Masoud Mirzaei, 31, Iran

"And in the end, all I learned was how to be strong alone."

a girl wearing glasses in front of a screen

Jimena, 19, Mexico

“I found companionship in loneliness.”

young people protesting in the UK

Jordi Carter, 21, Brighton

“This photo sums up my year because this year I became very aware of how complicit the UK has been in global issues, and this photo marks the beginning of a lot of protests that I and many young people have attended across the country to show our discontent.”

a man stepping into a lake

Jacob F-D, 22, Lincolnshire

“This was when I finally celebrated graduating with friends, embracing the cold new future that I had been incredibly anxious for; a photo of a friend that was beside me the entire time.”

a pile of clothes and an ipad

Thea, 19, Germany

“Colourful, connecting mess full of potential.”

a mum looking a her child lying in bed

Stephanie, 23, London

“Mum seeing me for the first time after my gender reassignment surgery.”

shaved head

Lewis King, 23, Cornwall

“Shaving my head was so freeing it felt like a complete fresh start for me as a new person and ready to achieve everything I’ve been afraid to.”

hospital being cleaned

Tanaseth (Pong) Tulyathan, 20, Bangkok

“COVID hospital ward in Bangkok, Thailand, after testing positive on the fifth day.”

a man and his child in the garden

Robert Marco Detoyato, 38, Vienna, Austria

“Working from home since March has allowed me to witness how my children grow in ways I would've otherwise have missed if I were in the office.”


Paula Merget, 17, Munich, Germany

“When we couldn't see a lot of friends or go to parties, two friends and I just met at home (legal in Germany back then) and danced all night and I feel like this photo represents this mentality of making the best of this shitty year.”

a man standing on the edge of a lake

Thithi, 21, Tanzania

“This year was really all about self-discovery.”

collaged face

Herald Stalin, 21, Manila, Philippines

“The silence of many is speaking volumes. There should be an end to hiding.”

a person's eye framed by their hand

Anouk Brouwer, 26, Tokyo, Japan

“I see myself very clearly now.”


All images courtesy of the artist

my year in a photo