A photo celebrating Hamiltonians’ social spirit during the COVID-19 lockdown has won the Hamilton City Libraries Life in Lockdown photography contest.
Melanie Skipwith’s panoramic pic shows her neighbours enjoying morning tea outside their homes while suitably physically distanced.
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.
The photo competition, which ran for three weeks in November, is 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.
The community archive holds records donated or loaned by local clubs, societies, businesses and individuals, such as letters, diaries, minute books, photographs and scrapbooks. All items are available to the public to view.
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 70 entries in the photo competition, will be exhibited next year.