The following is the full photo gallery from this year’s Photo Annual, which came out in print last month. To get print, sign up to be a Beta Pass or Outside+ member. Membership details HERE.
Shoot what’s familiar. Shoot what’s close to you. Didn’t a famous photographer say that once? That’s great advice, but it also kind of sucks. Home can feel routine. A bit boring at times. It can be hard not to fantasize about shooting somewhere new and unfamiliar rather than just picking up the camera and exploring what’s right in front of you. That seems too easy, right? But when the world shut down almost two years ago, photographers were forced to do just that. Shoot what you know, or don’t shoot at all, because we’re not going anywhere.
It’s hard for me to say that this was a bad thing, photographically speaking. The obstacles of the last year-and-a-half were met with a creativity and passion for making images that was nothing short of inspiring. It was like all the noise and distraction of what if was stripped away and photographers could just focus on what mattered. The substance of the image.
That sense of solitary self-reflection is very apparent in this issue’s 38-page photo gallery. Rather than looking through images submitted for this year’s annual that were shot in new and unfamiliar places, I was looking largely at a view of our photographers’ respective home turfs—their images revealed the places and people that made them the visual storytellers that they are today. Home, for now, is no longer something to escape but rather something to explore and embrace.
And maybe that’s a good thing. I’m struck, not by how different this year’s gallery is with all the challenges we’ve faced, but how inspired it feels. All the years these photographers have spent developing their own unique visual voices on the road have met this moment to tell truly authentic stories about the places they call home. Images that may not have been made if anything was possible, or any destination on a map was a potential place to shoot. That has a way of shifting the perspective of what feels ordinary or routine.
There’s a quiet comfort in that. Regardless of where you call home, these moments are happening. We just need to be forced to look.