Like most of us, photographer Ryan Bakerink never could have predicted the way the year 2020 would look: “Who knew what sort of year this was going to be? I didn’t!”
Bakerink kicked off this year with his photo project called Chicago 2020 – a plan to photograph every neighborhood in the city.
“Because I moved here when I was 20, and I’ve been here 20 years. I thought, ‘Oh, Chicago 2020, that works perfectly.’ I thought to myself, I’m going to go make work in all 77 neighborhoods starting January 1, ending December 31. So, that’s why I did the project, and like you said, I had no idea what kind of year this would be. Nobody did!”
Over the last few weeks, he’s photographed Chicago during the coronavirus pandemic, and the Black Lives Matter protests. Those photos were recently featured in “Sunday Morning”‘s Snapshot series, which showcases the works of different photographers each week.
“Sunday Morning” producer Sara Kugel asked, “Of the photos that were featured, do you have a favorite?”
“My favorite one was probably the future one where there was a man with a fist in the air. He’s standing on a car. And so, I saw the shot out as I was walking with the protesters from the front. And I immediately knew I need that shot, I needed from behind. I knew the angles. I knew the sun was setting. So, I rushed over there. I just love how powerful that was, just leadership. Symbolism of leadership was great.”
And then there were the flowers.
“My favorite coffee place downtown, the windows are all smashed out, and there was a pot of flowers, just kind of sitting there, and it was kind of another symbolic image of hope.”
Bakerink said he’s learned that when it comes to photography, some of the most powerful images come from unexpected moments, and he has a hunch this year’s photo project will be the same way.
“It’s still a time capsule,” he said. “It happened. It’s here. It’s now. Searching for what this city means to me is still happening.”
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Story produced by Roman Feeser and Sara Kugel.