We are sharing Arizona Daily Star reporters' and photographers' favorite work from 2020. Here are photographer Mamta Popat's favorites of 2020:
Fave Five #1 Vesta Toller: One of the things I love about being a photojournalist is the opportunity to meet some of the most interesting people who live in our community. Vesta Toller is someone I never would have talked to if it weren't for this job. At 109 years old, she was sharp and told the reporter and I stories of her childhood. Her face tells you so much and that's why I decided to keep the composition simple, to just focus on her.
Fave Five #2 Behind the Masks: As the coronavirus disease started to take hold in our community and masks became an essential part of our everyday lives, I wondered how this pandemic was affecting people. I decided to produce a series of portraits of Tucsonans and ask them their story in a couple sentences. Lives on hold is a central theme.
Fave Five #3 Nasal Swab: Access to testing for the coronavirus was one of the bigger aspects to cover at the beginning. Not many people want to be photographed as they're receiving the nasal swab test, but Cheri did not hesitate and was so kind. Afterwards I asked her if it was still ok to use her photo and she said yes. She felt this was important and people should get tested.
Fave Five #4 Spanish Trail Motel Fire: I was leaving a friend's house in the Foothills area when I saw dark smoke billowing up into the air from the South Tucson area. Upon arrival the sun had already set and about a hundred people were seated on the sidewalk and in the street as Tucson firefighters worked to put out the fire. The only light available to make pictures came from siren lights off of emergency vehicles. Cornelius Eursey was seated and just watched as firefighters tried to save as many apartments as they could. The light falling on his face paired with his body language is what caught my eye.
Fave Five #5 Hug Tunnel: There are millions of images being produced in relation to the coronavirus. I'm sure many photographers are trying to make that one photo that summarizes this moment in time. For me, thus far, it's this hug tunnel. It represents how families are apart and even if they can get together, there still needs to be a protective barrier to keep everyone safe.