2020 in Perspective
September 9 – October 19, 2021
2020 in Perspective: Selections from the 2020 Pictures of the Year Archive
Curated by Ron Tarver, Andrea Packard, and Tess Wei
The exhibition will take place in the List Gallery and McCabe Library Atrium, Swarthmore College
2020 in Perspective features 197 images taken during the COVID-19 pandemic by 36 photographers representing 19 different nationalities. Selected from the archives of the 2020 Pictures of the Year Competition (POY), the selected photographs highlight the variety of ways people experienced the pandemic, and related challenges such as climate crisis, systemic injustice, and civil rights activism. While the pandemic instilled a sense of isolation in many people, it also demonstrated our global interdependence, the impact of digital images, and the importance of photojournalism. With this exhibition and related events, Swarthmore is pleased to collaborate with the organizers of the Pictures of the Year Competition (POY), a project of the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri. Since 1944, the POY competition has been organized annually in order to call attention to the importance of documentary photography, especially during times of crisis.
September 29, 4:30 – 5:30 PM: "The Power of Photography Amid Global Crises"
A Conversation with Ron Tarver and Elizabeth Cheng Krist
Moderated by List Gallery Director Andrea Packard
Lang Performing Arts Center Cinema
List Gallery reception follows: 5:30-7:00 PM
How have documentary images shaped your understanding of the past year?
Why do some images appear archetypal, spark controversy, or catalyze social upheaval? And why do many documentary photographers see their work as distinct from "Art?" Ron Tarver, an associate professor of Art at Swarthmore College and recent Guggenheim fellowship recipient, will discuss such questions with Elizabeth Cheng Krist, who was a senior photo editor with National Geographic magazine for more than 20 years and serves on the boards of Women Photograph and of the W. Eugene Smith Fund. During 2020, both Tarver and Krist served as jurors for the 78th Pictures of the Year Competition (POY), which received more than 38,000 entries and awarded 240 prizes in varied categories, including photojournalism, visual editing, and online multimedia.
In conjunction with 2020 in Perspective, McCabe Library will host a companion exhibition titled Swarthmore 2020: Students Respond. During 2020, students enrolled in photography courses taught by Ron Tarver recorded their experience of the pandemic and social unrest. A selection of these images reflects the variety of student experiences and the important role of photography within our community. Student photographs will remain on view in display cases in McCabe Library Atrium through October 19, 2021.
The List Gallery organized 2020 in Perspective and Swarthmore 2020: Students Respond with support from the Department of Art and Art History, Swarthmore College, the Donald J. Gordon Visiting Artist Fund, and the Kaori Kitao Endowment for the List Gallery. Additional support was provided by Swarthmore College Libraries. We are especially grateful to Miranda Roelandt '22 for providing valuable curatorial and technical assistance.
Gallery hours: Tuesdays–Sundays, Noon – 5 PM.
McCabe Library hours: https://www.swarthmore.edu/libraries/hours
Currently, Swarthmore's campus is only open to community members with OneCard access.
*Health and access precautions may change. Please check the List Current Schedule webpage before planning your visit.
Read more on the exhibitions collaborators below: