Pandemic Gallery XI: Anchoring in Our Natural Environment During Troubled Times

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Last fall, we created the 10th Pandemic Gallery of reader-submitted photos, helping us chronicle the months when waves of COVID-19 slammed into our communities. We’re learning to cope with the virus, but the pressure on our world remains, and now it’s not just COVID that’s creating uncertainty: a war on Ukraine, high grocery prices and medical fees. ever-increasing electricity, along with mass shootings and always keeping an eye on time – humans have been stressed.

How do I find comfort?

It’s in the outdoors, boardwalks, the ocean, our gardens, and some semblance of connection to the natural world that calms our nerves and creates an ingrained sense of normalcy. Our pets and domestic animals, and no doubt wildlife, depend on routine and continuity to feel safe.

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

We had hoped last spring that the time had come to pull off this collective project of chronicling a strange time in human history with photos, but we won’t as the pandemic rages on.

In the Maine Press Association’s 2021 Annual Better Newspaper Contest, and in a first-ever win, it was PenBayPilot.com readers who won a prize for Picture Story, for your photographs submitted to Pilot’s Pandemic Galleries. It was an unorthodox contest submission, but we thought the photographers in our pilot community deserved recognition.

“I love this idea and this commitment, and clearly your readers will too,” wrote the judges from the South Dakota Newspaper Association, who reviewed and named the winners of Maine’s annual contest. “Well done. I don’t know how to judge this in a professional photographer contest, but if Maine had some sort of commitment or innovative category, it would be stronger.

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

This collection of submitted photos taken by residents and visitors to the state will join A Wellspring of Hope, Falling into winter, Maine is establishing a new normal with a sense of grace and Maine withstands a pandemic, Maine going through a pandemic, Summering through uncharted times, the leaves of change, Find our footing, a New year full of hope, and A source of hope.

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

Generations from now, historians will look at your photos for insight into how humans coped during a pandemic.

Send your contributions to [email protected], and we will continue this team project! The Pilot thanks you.

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