As one year closes and another begins, most everyone has their own holiday stories, memories, and reflections — no matter which holiday you celebrate, or how. For a photographer, this time of year offers special scenes available at no other time. We asked a few of our featured photographers around the world for their favorite holiday story or image. And in the spirit of all that is cheerful and merry, we asked them to share some of their favorite traditions.
STELLA YAN @st_ella
Shanghai photographer, Tokyo Edition
From the second half of this year, the virus situation in China was controlled pretty well, so I spent much of my holidays exploring China’s cities, such as Jiangxi, Fujian, Changsha, Guizhou. I really enjoyed all the trips. Each of them showed me different cultural scenes (such as local buildings and local cuisine) and gave me different experiences. I also spent 2020’s spring festival (around 14 days) traveling around Europe, Paris, Switzerland and Venice. I got lots of beautiful photos and wonderful memories during the trip. This trip became so much more memorable due to the pandemic and not being able to travel since, so I know I’ll be revisiting these photos now that I am back home during the festive season. It feels very strange that one of the first photos I took was ‘the first light of 2020 in Harbin’ (above).
KAMERON SEARS @ksears_
Chicago photographer, Chicago Edition
This time of the year is usually when shooting slows down a bit for me. Between office parties, family gatherings, and other random festivities shooting tends to take a back seat, but again this year is different. The one thing that will usually draw me out to shoot though is a good snow fall, and this is coming from a guy who has started to hate winter more and more each year. There’s something about seeing everyday scenes covered in white snow that just transforms them immediately and makes me want to go out and shoot.
EREN SARIGUL @erenjam
London photographer, London Edition + Tokyo Edition
If there are any positives to take out of 2020, it’ll be that I have got to spend more time with my family. For the first time in a long time I have no plans at all for the holiday season this year, other than to be at home with my family, which in a funny way I am looking forward to.
As getting into central London is a bit of a challenge with the ongoing lockdowns, I'm going to be spending the holiday season focusing on learning new photo editing techniques and delving deeper into filmmaking.
LUCY HAMIDZADEH @juicylucyham
London photographer, London Edition + Unfinished Stories
I love shooting at this time of year. I love the chaotic hustle and bustle of people out shopping, meeting friends, crowded public transport, dark cold evenings lit up by Christmas lights, busy streets & markets, late revelry, and just the cosiness of it all! – all of which will be sadly missing this year. It’s been a very strange year for shooting full stop, especially when what you love most is capturing people’s emotions intimately, and candidly. Usually I find this time of year perfect for blending into the streets, people around me and going pretty much unnoticed. I vividly remember last year standing at a busy intersection on London’s Regent Street on Christmas Eve. I stood for so long just people observing and feeling completely invisible. It was crazy busy. I feel like it’s going to be a very long time before I witness that carefree scene of chaos and people again. The photos I’m sharing are from last festive season, 2019.
The above photographers are all featured in our Trope City Edition series. Learn more about this series here.