Pandemic Gallery XI: Grounding in our natural environment during troubling times

Mon, 05/30/2022 - 7:00pm

    Last fall, we created the 10th pandemic gallery of reader submitted photos, helping us chronicle the months of when waves of COVID-19 pressed against our communities. We are learning to cope with the virus, but the strain on our world remains, and now it’s not just COVID that creates uncertainty: A war on Ukraine, high prices in the grocery store and ever-increasing electricity charges, plus mass shootings and always an eye toward the weather – humans have stressed themselves.

    How do we find solace?

    It is in the outdoors,  the walks, the ocean, our gardens, and a semblance of connectedness to the natural world that calms our nerves, and creates a grounded sense of normalcy. Our pets and domesticated animals, and no doubt, wildlife, depends on routine and continuity for feeling safe. 

    Your photos reflect that common theme, and we love to see them arrive in the inbox, so that we can share them with the rest of the our readership.

    We had hoped last spring that the time had come to retire this collective project of chronicling a weird period in human history with photos, but we won’t because the pandemic rages on.

    At the 2021 the annual Maine Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, and in a first-ever win, it was PenBayPilot.com readers who brought home an award for Picture Story, for your submitted photographs to the Pilot’s Pandemic Galleries. It was an unorthodox contest submission, but we believed that our Pilot community photographers deserved recognition.

    “I love this idea and engagement, and clearly so did your readers,” wrote the South Dakota Newspaper Association judges, who were taking on the task of reviewing and naming winners of Maine’s annual competition. “Well done. Not sure how to judge this in a competition of professional photogs, but if Maine had some sort of engagement or innovative category, this would be stronger.”

    The first volume of pandemic photos initiated in March 2020, and sense then, you, the photographers, have steadily taken your cameras to the Midcoast, capturing how we perceive living through a deadly pandemic. Your photos have been remarkably expressive, and beautiful.

    This collection of submitted photos taken by residents and visitors to the state will join A Wellspring of Hope, Tipping toward Winter, Maine establishes new normal with a sense of grace and Maine weathers a pandemic, Maine springs through a pandemic, Summering on through uncharted times, the Leaves of Change, Finding our Footing, a Hopeful new year, and A Wellspring of Hope.

    All these galleries have been built on the love people have for the Midcoast and the natural beauty of their state. The photographers are observant, creative and astute. They help capture our current days.

    Generations from now, historians will be looking at your photos for glimpses of how humans coped during a pandemic.

    Send your contributions to news@penbaypilot.com, and we will continue this team project! The Pilot thanks you.