Calling all photographers, camera enthusiasts and budding artists! Whether you spent the pandemic baking bread, exploring Oak Bay’s parks, working on the frontlines or finding ways to keep little ones busy, you likely took many photos over the last year and now is the time to show them off.
The Oak Bay News and the Community Association of Oak Bay (CAOB) are inviting residents to take part in creating a collective portrait of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic through photos – and drawings from kids aged 11 and under.
Oak Bay Snaps Back is a community photo project that will “capture this hopefully unique moment in our lifetime” and preserve it, explained Heather Cochran, an acting director for the CAOB.
From March 25 to May 15, the community association and Oak Bay News will be accepting submissions depicting the new and safe ways people have found to enjoy the municipality over the past year.
As a result of the pandemic, the CAOB’s annual events had to be cancelled and members were looking for new ways to engage Oak Bay residents and foster a sense of community from a distance, Cochran said. Eventually, the idea of creating a community-wide photo gallery – inspired by the National Portrait Gallery’s Hold Still photo project conducted in the United Kingdom in 2020 which sought to capture life amid the pandemic – was pitched.
The CAOB felt it was a “brilliant idea for an activity we can still engage in safely,” she said. “Our community is still here” and looking for ways to connect safely, and Oak Bay Snaps Back will do just that.
Photos dating back to March 2020 will be accepted along with new ones taken before May 15. Residents are encouraged to “memorialize this experience” and all the changes witnessed throughout the pandemic, she said. The goal is to show that the human spirit endures through themes of our new normal, connecting with nature and helpers and heroes.
“We’re all hopeful this is the end of the pandemic,” she said. The project is a way to capture the widened sidewalks, grocery store arrows, hearts in windows, drive-by birthdays, virtual meetings and all the ways life changed, she added.
Photos and drawings can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, and must be submitted by May 15 at 11:59 p.m. All submissions will be entered to win gift certificates to various Oak Bay businesses and a selection will be featured in the Oak Bay News and on the CAOB website.
Photos should be high-resolution JPEGs with 300 DPI, must be taken in Oak Bay, cannot be retouched and should only include people who’ve consented to have their picture taken. Captions should include the names of the subjects, what they’re doing, where they are and who took the picture.