As we look ahead at a brand new year, we’re taking some time to celebrate the work you made in 2021. We asked you to reflect on the last 12 months and share one photo you’re passionate about. You delivered!
Take some time to look through the selected photos below to see the incredible work our photo community created this year, and follow along on our Instagram to see more of the moments you felt were most special. Tag us @photoshelter and use the hashtag #OnePhoto2021 for a chance to be featured on our social channels before the new year begins.
“I set out on a three-month 12,000-mile road trip this summer to reconnect with wilderness and share my experience through photography. I had lost my parents in 2020 and felt an adventure would be revitalizing. I have visited the Arches many times, and it’s always been exciting. This trip didn’t disappoint.
It was late afternoon, and while picking up supplies in Moab, a weather alert came across my iPhone. Gusty winds, gray skies, and heavy rain didn’t deter some of us, but it didn’t hold much promise for good light. As I drove deeper into the park, I gained elevation, and a sliver of clear sky on the western horizon was tantalizing. I didn’t have long to wait. The sun dropped below the clouds and spectacularly lit up the park, creating a double rainbow.”
“A busy waterway is filled with boats and their passengers in the morning commute as they try to pass on a river in Bangladesh.
Pictured here are the boats on the Buriganga River in Bangladesh as millions of commuters attempt to cross the river daily to get to their workplace in the city of Dhaka. The Bangladeshi capital is one of the most densely populated in the world and home to around 19 million people. The waterway is quite busy in the morning as people try to get to the office and to work on time. Some wear masks, but people don’t see COVID-19 as an issue here anymore while COVID cases are increasing day by day quite rapidly.
Boats are the only way to cross this waterway so people pass rivers with these boats even with the risk of catching COVID.”
“Members of Campatlanezi (Danza Azteca del Anahuac) perform a traditional dance and drumming ceremony at the 5th annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day Philly celebration at Shackamaxon (Penn Treaty Park) on October 11 in Philadelphia.
The 2021 celebration marked the first year that the City of Philadelphia officially recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day. The celebration, which included educational activities, storytelling, music, and dance performances from Indigenous groups throughout the Americas, took place at the location where the Lenape signed a treaty with William Penn in 1683.”
“My camera sits atop our 1970’s step stool next to the patio door to be grabbed whenever I see or hear activity outside … no time for a tripod … I move closer towards the wildlife … steady myself … quickly focus and capture the moment.
I have been documenting our backyard wildlife for many years … and was especially pleased this summer to photograph this roadrunner. Normally roadrunners have not frequented our yard, and if seen, they quickly run and disappear into the bush. Luckily, this time I was close enough (and quick enough) to snap this photo!”
“This was from Feb 2021, during the last snow of the winter season. I met up with some girl friends for a surf session, and just had to take a moment to capture this lifestyle portrait of my friend Chelsea before she hopped in the water. Although it’s not practical to go surfing in a beanie… I wanted to use it in the photo for the color contrast against the wintery blues. It’s still one of my favorite shots of the whole year, and captures the cold water women’s surf scene of RI in so many ways for me.”
“What does this image mean to me through the pandemic year? Three generations of the same family being together, recognizing each other as a special part of their lives.”
“Although I’ve been to San Diego many times, this was my first opportunity to photograph the Fort Rosecrans National Military Cemetery about 2 months ago.
While thinking about family and friends who served in the armed forces on this past Veteran’s Day, I got to thinking about this photo. When most of us think of wars and conflicts, the most prevalent ones that come to mind are World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the more recent conflicts in the Middle East in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Upon researching a little deeper into the history of Fort Rosecrans National Military Cemetery, I was in awe at the number of veterans interred here that fought in wars going back as far as the Mexican – American War in the 1840’s, The Indian Wars of the 1870’s and the Spanish – American War in 1900. I pondered how the fabric of America is woven by these wars and how the lives and deaths of so many Veterans has had an impact on the ancestral history of every family.”
“I’m not too great with heights and this shot simply requires height as an angle without a remote. This was the first time I shot directly above the hoop in netball and was taken this year – I was stoked to walk away with this frame. I absolutely love how one of the players faces is framed inside the hoop. I believe this really gives appreciation for sport from all angles!”
“Julianne Jackson’s 35th birthday was on the same day as George Floyd’s murder. Jackson started her own all-female community activist organization, Black Joy Oregon.
I’ve been following the group for the last year as they continue their fight for racial equality and community activism across Oregon.”
“This is Central Park, New York City during a snowstorm on Sunday, February 7, 2021 in the middle of the pandemic. The city was quiet, blanketed in soft snow, and peaceful. People came out to the park and there was hope in the air, hope and happiness and playfulness and a deep feeling of release after the ordeal we had gone through in the previous twelve months. It was only a day, but it was a beautiful day.”
“This photo brings together all the themes and feelings I have about the world we live in and how my photography fits into it. Dr Concepcion Martinez-Gomez holds in her arms a Giant Fan Mussel, a critically endangered species under enormous pressure from water pollution in this part of Spain which is heavily reliant on agriculture for its economy.
I wanted to evoke Concepcion’s (or Conchi as she is known) compassion as a scientist, her deep connection to the natural world by placing in the sea, and by placing the mussel in her hands acknowledging our shared responsibility to heal the planet.”
“I was recently in Bakersfield, California, to photograph oil production, specifically an oil field on the edge of town called the Kern River Oil Field, a massive field of over 9,000 wells in an area just under 11 acres. I drove to a ridge I had heard offered a great view, but on my way, I noticed a large plume of smoke coming from the area I knew the oil field to be in. When I arrived, I saw a wildfire had broken out a few hundred feet from the oil field.
From other wildfires I had shot, I knew that all it took would be a gust of wind to carry sparks from the fire over to the wells themselves, wells surrounded by very dry brush due to the severe drought California has been experiencing. I photographed the fire and the efforts of the firefighters to put out the fire as fast as they could. This was one of the last shots of the evening as the glow of the embers illustrated how much the fire was still burning.”
“I am a horse racing photographer and my primary beat is steeplechase racing in the U.S. On Sunday, Nov. 7, I covered the 87th running of the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup in Unionville.
This was a magic moment when teenage jockey Colin Smith kissed the Hunt Cup Trophy after winning the historic event. It was the apprentice jockey’s second lifetime victory and first in a stakes race, obviously the crowning achievement of his burgeoning career.
The combination of the late day light peaking through the dappled blanket cloud cover, the sheen of his racing silks, and the way the muted sun fell on his fingers, face, hair, and eyes made for a striking and very special moment.”
“I’ve been working on improving my macro photography skills since the start of COVID and I know there is still a lot of room for growth, but I believe that this photo really showcases how far I’ve come.
This is a dahlia from my front yard. I would not have tried macro had it not been for the lockdowns and I have found this small light in the midst of this hardship.”
“This is a photograph of my grandson Finn Corbin competing in the New Zealand Junior Motocross Nationals in February this year. Finn was born with a congenital heart condition, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, that has required several major surgeries since birth. As a result his health and immune system are very compromised. He loves motocross with a passion and man can he fly!
With the arrival of Covid Delta in NZ this year despite his being vaccinated, my daughter Jen has had to stop Finn competing in MX and homeschool Finn and his siblings. This is just so sad for Finny. Finn’s and our simple message to people in New Zealand and everywhere is please, please get vaccinated for COVID-19 so that people like Finn can continue to enjoy life to the maximum we all take for granted.”
“I’m the house photographer for Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, CA, during the run of the OC Fair.
I love how this position can allow me to create something unique. It can be tricky, because there’s no gap between the audience and the band, which sometimes limits my shooting positions.
I was fortunate enough that there was an empty seat up front, and the people I was sitting next to were very generous with allowing me to be there while I was shooting.
This shot really speaks to me because I feel it represents a genuine appreciation of things returning to ‘normal’ and the ability for us to connect with each other in person, while still being safe.”
“My mum Adele (87) has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for the last few years. She hardly recognises people at this stage. She might not have a cognitive ability anymore but her emotions are gold for her understanding.
I took this picture when my mum’s best friend Franca visited her at home. Mum was dozing off and she did not recognise her friend. Franca was next to mum holding her hand.
MUM: I want an apple
ME: Mum, an apple? You cannot eat it like that. I need to blend it.
MUM: An apple
FRANCA: Giovanna, the apple is for me. Your mum used to bring apples every time she came to see me.
I gave her an apple and mum took Franca’s hand, brought it to her mouth and kissed it.
My mum might not verbally communicate anymore but her being is there inside her. She knows where she is and who the people around her are. She feels it. Well done Adele. We still have a long winding road in front of us but we can still have each other.”
Tell us about your ‘one photo.’ What assignments, photo projects, or creative endeavors are you most proud of from 2021? Share your work with us on Instagram or Twitter by tagging @photoshelter and using the hashtag #OnePhoto2021. We’d love to see what you created this year!