Community Post – Our Faves from 2020

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Viewfinders Manifesto #5: We believe that while photography might be a solo pursuit, it is made much more enjoyable when practiced with the support of a community.

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We want to express our gratitude to all of you for being the most important part of our Viewfinders story, and we wish you the warmest greetings of the season!

What a hard year 2020 has been… It has been a year many of us would like to forget. Yet, despite the fact that it has touched us all in many different and unimaginable ways, we have still managed to share our images and stories with you, our community. The photos we have taken this year have been especially meaningful and have resonated with us even more than any other year. For this last post of 2020, we are all sharing our favorite photos from this past year.

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Choosing favorites (for anything) is hard for me. But for this year of photos, I choose this one.
For the shadows, the light, the warm tones. But especially for the reaching stem, which speaks to me of hope. Aren’t we all reaching for – and holding onto – hope?

~ Michelle

I chose this image for one of my favorites from 2020 because (1.) windows speak to me and (2.) I feel like this particular window embodies this unprecedented year. Broken and hanging on by a thread. Worn and weary. But hopeful that out of that comes some little green shoots of life, and a touch of lacy beauty behind the panes. We find the beauty and hope wherever we can.

~ Lucy

I couldn’t decide, so I went with both. I made the one on the left on what would have been Ahmaud Arbery’s birthday. I was filled with deep sadness and I didn’t know what to do, so I went for a walk. These little flowers are my promise to never forget his name. The summer was so tumultuous. The photograph represents the grief and pain too large for words that we all experienced this year, some much more than others. So much turmoil. Too many names. I made the second photograph on a walk a few blocks from my house, on another emotionally difficult day. I rounded the corner down an alley and there those flowers were, spilling over the fence. Abundant. The photograph represents all the ways I found love and hope this year. Wishing you all faith, hope, and love <3


How does one pick a favorite photo to mark a year with so much lose and heartache. One chooses one full of joy, hope and love. Our first grandchild was born at the end of January, just a few days after we first heard of the outbreak in China. The year has seen us quarantined, along with his parents, who work from home, so we can gather, help out when needed, and watch this sweet boy grow. Out of the 4,000 plus photos I have taken of of him over the year, I picked this one. I had just walked out of my office, camera in hand, and rounded the corner into our family room to this. I didn’t want either of them to see me, so I just turned my camera on and clicked. The photo was dark (oh the wonders of lightroom) but it shows so well the love my son has for his son. Wishing you a beautiful and safe holiday season.

xoox, ~ Cathy

Last summer we spent a week by the sea with my son and daughter-in-law. One evening, after a thunderstorm, the clouds began to part. We ran down to the beach to find everything drenched in a beautiful rosy pink light. I ran up and down the shore, clicking away like a freaking maniac. For a too brief moment, I completely forgot about the pandemic and the state of the world. I revisit this photo often these days.

We all need a bit of respite, wherever we can find it.

I wish that for you,

~ Susan

I love everything about this picture. This moment with these three lovely people, in my favourite place (our garden) after eating dinner outside, in the best kind of light. THIS is what I cherish from this year. One of them will have told an awful pun at the point I snapped this picture; their humour has completely carried me through this year. I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful lockdown crew.

~ Kirstin

In late spring, my kids and I planted Cosmos seeds in our backyard. I’ve never planted Cosmos before and wasn’t really certain what to expect. Behold! They grew gloriously tall and bloomed wildly. The evening light on them was spectacular and we were all sad to see them fade in the fall. We were mesmerized all summer. I love this image because it reminds me that even when life was feeling so heavy and dark at the beginning of quarantine, we held hope in our hearts and planted these seeds. It reminds me that light always shines in the darkness. It reminds me how important it is to remain hopeful.

~ Laura

A dear friend once paid me the beautiful compliment that my photographs are an antidote to her inner darkness. It’s been a year of such incredible darkness, and I was compelled to make so few proper photographs, but I guess she knows me. My favorite of the year, it’s all about the light.

Choosing my favorite image was more difficult than it has been in the past. I finally ended up selecting this one. It is a dark image, with just a touch of light. It is my hope tree and reminds me to hope, something I think we all need right now. May your new year be filled with hope, life, and magical light.

~Staci Lee

I keep coming back to this one from my pile of images for 2020. I think it’s because it reminds me that even though I feel alone sometimes on my journey, what I do makes a difference and it ripples outward.


I’ve always firmly believed we must create our own happiness, but this year I learned sometimes we must also ask for help. I dove back into self portraiture this year and for the first time in my life I had help. The man standing on the other side of the camera, just out of view, has kept me smiling, kept me hopeful, and kept me going throughout this difficult year. This self-portrait is my favorite, because it is one of the rare times I’m smiling in a photo and it is all thanks to him –

~Jenny W

What got me through a lot of this year was being able to get outside and into the woods with these two. We spent a lot of time hiking the regional and state parks nearby, many times letting them lead the way, following their curiosities. As a result, I’ve got piles and piles of favorites from this year – mostly of them, figuring out how the world works. And every now and then I’d ask them for one of these – to test out a new lens, to scope out a new location – and their cheesy obliging just melts me.

~ Alison

I am a Kindergarten teacher. When schools closed and we started lockdown in March of this year, we all believed it was going to be for two weeks. Two weeks became two months and two months became the whole 2020-2021 school year. I am grieving for my former classroom kids, many of whom never learned how to read properly before they moved to first grade. I am heartbroken for my class this year, whom I will be not be able to give a good morning hug. And I am crushed for my own kids at home who are struggling with distance learning as well. Here’s to hoping 2021 will bring our children back to us, the teachers who have worked, stressed, and cried so hard this year.

~ Maite

My favourite photo? Maybe. But it represents more than just a photo… it represents a moment in this year as a whole. The need to jump in the car and drive to find a view, simply because we needed to blow out the mental or emotional cobwebs. Or just get out of the house because we couldn’t stand the four walls for one minute more. But like any other non-pandemic year, these past months have been filled with memorable moments, even if they aren’t momentous in any significant way. It represents gratitude for getting to spend more time than I ever could have imagined with my family, and feeling lucky. Even in the midst of it all. Here’s to 2021.
~ kim

I hardly know which image is my favourite this year, or if I even have one. I picked this one out of every image I had to choose from because it represents messy happiness in the middle of a very rough time. The image is from mid-March; it was two weeks after my mother’s death, and we were in lockdown trying to juggle working from home and spending time with our five year-old son. Several times during that period, we both took time off from working and made waffles. Funny how a little thing like that can brighten the world. Here’s to lots of waffles in 2021.

~Jenny Graver.

New Year’s Day 2020 with Maj. A day of hope and possibilities with a brand, new, sparkling year ahead of us. Little did we know we’d be losing him a few months later during a stay-at-home order in the middle of a pandemic. I love this photo because we’re happy and laughing and we’re together. He’s giving us a funny look, like “What’s so silly you guys? I don’t get it!” We still miss him every day, even though we now have a new pup in our life, little Gibson, who is equally wonderful, but still not Maj. Almost 15 years together is a really long time, and I feel privileged to have been his dog mom.
~ Holly


  1. Tears of joy as I read this post. Like all of humanity poured out into a single pond where we all can see the reflections. A beautiful reminder of all that is good and kind and deep. And the value of friendship, as in this community.

  2. All the beauty and thoughtfulness that still is out there even in hard and dark times. Thank you.

  3. Looking at these photos, I think it’s pretty amazing how we managed to capture such light and love in this dark time. Holding hope for 2021…let’s keep making those waffles!

  4. Thank you for these words, these captures, this light, these heartfelt moments shared. Tears were running down my face as I read all of your lovely thoughts, feeling a tenderness for it all.

  5. What a beautiful collection – I loved reading the reason behind their choosing. It’s more difficult than in years past to reflect on the year itself, although I think it’s important and valuable – it’s also hard – and still quite raw.

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