January 21, 2021

Hamiltonians’ social spirit captured on camera wins award

A photo celebrating Hamiltonians’ social spirit during the COVID-19 lockdown has won the Hamilton City Libraries ‘Life in Lockdown’ photography contest in the adult category.

Melanie Skipwith’s panoramic picture shows her neighbours enjoying morning tea outside their homes while suitably physically distanced.

Prize-winning photo depicting a street morning tea submitted by Melanie Skipwith (Photo Supplied)

The entries were judged by photographer Mark Hamilton; professional artist Claudia Latisnere and Director of Hamilton City Libraries Stephen Pennruscoe.

Heritage librarian, Deborah Fitz-Herbert said the photograph was chosen because it nicely captured the mood of the lockdown.

“It shows the effort people made during a difficult time to keep up their social connections and check in on each other,” she said.

“Our ways of interacting became this strange mix of normal and very much not normal.”

Other entries were similarly eerie and showed empty streets and restaurants in the central city at normally busy times.

The winning entry in the under-18 section was from 10-year-old Jade, who celebrated the worldwide pandemic baking craze that had flour flying off supermarket shelves.

Jade's winning entry in under-18 category
Jade’s winning entry in under-18 category (Photo: Supplied)

The photo competition received 70 entries and ran for three weeks in November. This competition was part of the libraries’ efforts to record personal experiences of the pandemic for future generations, including oral histories and children’s perspectives.

Libraries Director, Stephen Pennruscoe said the stories would become part of the archive Hamilton City Libraries maintains on behalf of the community.

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Earlier this year, the libraries put the call out for children’s COVID-19 stories and created a teddy bear template to encourage young Hamiltonians to record their thoughts, feelings and experiences.

Material collected during the lockdown, including the entries in the photo competition, will be exhibited next year.