Ten Art and Photography Projects That Perfectly Captured Life in 2020

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US election day 2020 New York City Devin Doyle
Photography by Devin Doyle

This year has been seismic and monumental, serving us a pandemic, global unrest, and numerous political shakeups. Here, we round up the artists and photographers who captured it best

The Self-Isolation Photographic Diaries

Earlier this year, AnOther invited nine photographers – including Brianna Capozzi, Laura Coulson and Dougie Irvine – to document their lives under lockdown. Each week, for ten weeks, they sent us an image that encapsulated their experiences during the pandemic, ranging from webcam screenshots to spontaneous street photography.

Seesaw by Bex Day

When her usual work was paused during the pandemic, London photographer Bex Day turned the camera on herself. The resulting series of self-portraits became a new personal project, titled Seesaw, which aimed to highlight “the emotional ups and downs” that come with lockdown life.

My Body In A Box by Penny Slinger

British artist Penny Slinger put her own surreal spin on the pandemic this year, creating a series of photomontages of her naked body trapped in a variety of different boxes. The project, simply titled My Body In A Box, was an attempt to “to explore the psychological entrapment and fears” that can be caused by a pandemic.

This Immediate Life

Earlier this year, conceptual arts collective This Immediate Life began inviting people to send in their lockdown self-portraits. Submissions swiftly poured in from all over the world, with creatives from the US, Europe and Asia sending in their responses. “We wanted to create something positive, uplifting, and collaborative,” the collective told AnOther earlier this year.

Pictures for Elmhurst

A host of acclaimed New York photographers joined forces earlier this year to raise funds for one of the city’s busiest, and most hardest-hit, Covid-19 treatment centres. The online print sale attracted 96 names – including Justine Kurland, Tyler Mitchell and Drew Jarrett – who all donated profits to Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.

Photographs for the Trussell Trust

... And in the UK this goodwill continued, with a print sale honouring the country’s largest food bank charity, The Trussell Trust. 140 photographers, including legendary image-makers such as Martin Parr, Jeremy Deller and Mark Borthwick, as well as breakout talent, donated their work to the initiative, raising urgent funds for people in need of food and emergency support.


“FREE FILM: JUNE 2020 got kicked off as a response to dramatic shifts in the global landscape due to Covid-19 and protests over systemic racial injustice,” artist Neil Hamamoto told AnOther this summer. His project, FREE FILM, distributes free rolls of 35-millimetre film to photographers from around the world, alongside an abstract creative brief. This year, though, the project was dominated by the Black Lives Matter protests, with 200 global photographers sharing their monochrome perspectives.

Viral Paintings by Marc Quinn

Marc Quinn’s uncovered his powerful new lockdown-inspired project, Viral Paintings, earlier this year. The series shows the artist repurpose stories from his digital news diet, creating giant portraits taken from his iPhone screen. “The barrier between the virtual and digital is melting,” Quinn explained, in an interview about the project with Jefferson Hack. “I think that the question of how we negotiate that very border between virtuality and reality is one of the big questions of the 21st century.”

Election Day in New York by Devin Doyle

Photographer Devin Doyle documents one of the most fraught election days in US history, heading to the streets of New York as voters cast their ballots. Although it’s still a Democratic stronghold, he manages to capture the city’s intensifying divisions, and the surprising amount of Trumpian support that’s bubbling under its surface.

Election Day in Alabama by Fumi Nagasaka

Fumi Nagasaka shares a similar story in her Alabama-based photo essay, only with very different results. The photographer heads to the Southern state, which has voted Republican in every election since 1980, to capture voters on the way to the polls.