Giving Thanks?

Three Notes on November 24, 2020:

  1. Thoughts on “being thankful” this year
  2. Ideas for photographing Thanksgiving in a time of COVID-19
  3. Remembering Freddie Mercury

It’s Thanksgiving week here in the U.S., a time when people acknowledge who they’re thankful to and what they’re thankful for. But this is 2020, a year that quite possible will help us revisit and refresh the meaning of the old saying “hindsight is 20/20.” This is a year forever marked by the Coronavirus pandemic, by the fight for human rights, for democracy, equality and justice in many aspects of our collective as well as individual, lives.

So, this Thanksgiving 2020 why should we be giving thanks? What for? Can we still find a reason?

Fall colors in Garden State. ©Alina Oswald.
Fall in Garden State. ©Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

As I might have mentioned in a previous post, I truly do believe that in many ways Coronavirus has been a blessing in disguise. It has forced many of us to rethink our lives. It has given Mother Nature a break…from us. How sad that it took a virus, a pandemic for so many of us to pause and perhaps reconsider our actions….

Most importantly, have we learned anything from this 2020 experience? Unfortunately, it turns out that too often the answer is, sadly, a resounding “no.”

So, what am I thankful for this year?

First and foremost, my family, loved ones, and friends. I miss them very much, those I couldn’t see in person this year because of the pandemic. That said, I’m grateful for being able to stay in touch with them, virtually, throughout the year.

I’m grateful for being able to tackle new creative ideas during this Covid quarantine. All are works in progress at this point, and I’m not sure how many, if any at all, will end up finished projects, but, still….

I’m definitely grateful to those who, during this ongoing pandemic, have had common sense and cared for their lives and the lives of others enough to wear their masks the right way (over their mouths and noses) while also maintaining a safe physical distance.

Mostly, I’m thankful for having a roof over my head and food in the fridge, and to those helping me maintain that kind of safety net and the kind of sanity that comes with it. I’m grateful for that, but also very much aware of the fragility of that sense of security, as well as of the surrounding reality. Because, sadly, today more and more people find themselves constantly struggling to maintain these basic needs, while worrying about how long until they, too, will, disappear….

Fall colors in Garden State. ©Alina Oswald.
Look Up! Fall in Garden State. ©Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Also, years ago I wrote a short story for the holidays, In My Shoes, a short story I often share during the Thanksgiving weekend. Feel free to check it out…as well as a few tips on photographing Thanksgiving.

NOTE: if photographing Thanksgiving during Covid-19, maybe think of a then-and-now visual story. Here are a few ideas:

  • include memories/images from past Thanksgiving holidays together with reminders of the present Covid-19 time; perhaps, try to capture the nostalgia of past holidays vs the loneliness of this year’s TG; family portraits from past holidays vs this year’s one-person table setting; food preparations with family and friends vs TG 2020 more simple dinner preparations; or maybe new recipes and/or new TG meal ideas….
  • include reminders of the coronavirus pandemic, such as masks, a clock/watch/smartphone/etc. showing the time, 7pm; a box of disinfectant wipes next to a pair of rubber gloves; include them in the background, as part of a bigger story, or as subjects of detail shots that would then become part of a photo essay….
  • include this year’s virtual Thanksgiving: screen shots of virtual gatherings showing people and food/food preparations, etc. and also, again, reminders of Covid (masks, rubber gloves, disinfectant wipes or spray, etc. maybe waiting by the door, in the background, again, as constant reminders of this special Covid kind of holiday)
Dead leaves. ©Alina Oswald.
Bed of dead leaves. ©Alina Oswald.

Also, today is November 24. As a Freddie Mercury (September 5, 1946 – November 24, 1991) fan, I want to mention this day and share a link to my take on the Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, a #tbt (which includes my personal story discovering the magical music of Queen and Freddie Mercury) originally published in A&U Magazine–America’s AIDS Magazine.

Hope this finds you well. I wish a wonderful, safe and happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrate, and a nice week ahead to everybody.

As always, thanks for stopping by! And, yes, I’m thankful for that, too, always.

Alina Oswald

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