Alone Together: Hornsby Shire’s Pandemic in Images

A picture says 1000 words, so in September/October 2021 Hornsby Shire Council invited residents to share their experience of the Covid pandemic in pictures.

The Covid 19 pandemic caused Council’s across the Sydney metropolitan region to review or postpone their cultural programming. To support local creativity in a Covid-safe manner for a community in lockdown, Hornsby Shire Council ran several creative photography projects, under the banner of the Alone, Together: Photography Project, including a photography competition.

The competition was open to Hornsby Shire residents of any age. Participants were asked to submit an image that answered the question, “What does the Covid pandemic mean to me?”. The image may have been taken over the course of the pandemic or, it could have been generated in response to the photography competition opportunity. There were 183 entries, 183 finalists and 18 winning entries. This exhibition showcases the winning entries.

The images were selected by a panel of judges with ties to Hornsby Shire, local studies, cultural and photographic expertise. The instruction to the judges was to select images that answered the question, “What does the Covid pandemic mean to me?”. The idea was to create an exhibition, (physical and online) that represented the zeitgeist, or defining mood of the people of Hornsby Shire during this time.

A number of themes were revealed including; the importance of pets, an appreciation of the bush and outdoor lifestyle so easily accessed in Hornsby Shire, covid specific messaging and behaviours, empty urban landscapes and infrastructure, covid related pollution, value of community, family and friends, personal grooming and the challenges of home-schooling. Where many images on a similar theme were entered, the most aesthetically pleasing image was chosen, to ensure an interesting and diverse exhibition.

The images reveal that the people of Hornsby are resilient and resourceful and recognise the danger of social isolation. They can be responsive to serious situations and see humour and beauty in challenging times. Collectively, these images show that the pandemic has been both a bane and a boon for the local community.

The Alone, Together: Photography Project aimed to bring people together to connect with each other and the wider local community. It sought to promote wellbeing through creativity, and solidarity through shared experience. The finalist and winning entries will be added to Hornsby Shire Recollects, Council’s online local history database as a permanent social record of local people’s experience of the covid pandemic for the benefit of future generations.

Council would like to thank all the participants of the Alone, Together Photography Competition for sharing their stories of the pandemic. Council hopes that everyone viewing the images will be able to relate to something and someone in this exhibition.


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Hornsby Council
Westfield Hornsby