PHOTO ESSAY: Best of 2020 — Emerald Photographers Pick Their Favorites

The South Seattle Emerald asked our photojournalists to pick some of their favorite 2020 photos shot for Emerald stories. From protests to pandemic responses to celebrations-despite-it-all, the images show not only a difficult year but also one filled with resilience, strength, and solidarity. We are proud to call South Seattle our home and grateful to our talented photographers for helping us capture our community’s special history.

Chloe Collyer

Chloe Collyer (they/them) is a documentarian, a photographer, and a fifth-generation Seattleite who divides time between working as a photojournalist and teaching photography to kids. Chloe is currently working on a personal project reporting on youth activism in the Seattle area. You can view their work at

Veronica Very and Hiawatha D for an upcoming Emerald story (Photo: Chloe Collyer) 
Members of the Transit Riders Union chant and protest for economic relief, outside of Seattle City Hall. (Photo: Chloe Collyer)
Rapper Skye Dior (Photo: Chloe Collyer) 
Marcus Harrison Green, Founder and Publisher of the South Seattle Emerald (Photo: Chloe Collyer) 

Susan Fried

Susan Fried has been a photographer for over 40 years. In addition to the weddings, portraits, and some commercial work she did early in her career, she has been The Skanner News’ Seattle photographer for almost 25 years. Her images have also appeared in a variety of other publications including the Anchorage Times and Anchorage Daily News, University of Washington’s The Daily, The Seattle Globalist, Crosscut, and of course the South Seattle Emerald.  She has been contributing articles and photographs to the Emerald for the last five years. Follow her on Instagram @fried.susan.

I chose this photo because I think it’s a powerful image and because I’ve photographed Juneteenth for many years and despite COVID-19 this was the biggest and most well-attended Juneteenth celebration I have ever been to. South Seattle Emerald writer and photographer Carolyn Bick’s photographs also appear in this photo essay. (Photo: Susan Fried)
The March of Silence was an inspiring event. An estimated 60,000 marchers slogged through the pouring rain to protest police brutality and the killing of George Floyd. It was a collaborative effort with writer Elizabeth Turnbull, photographers Chloe Collyer, Carolyn Bick, and myself contributing to the piece. (Photo: Susan Fried)
The Annual Umoja Festival has always been one of my favorite events of the year to photograph and I was worried it wouldn’t happen in 2020 because of COVID-19, but although abbreviated from three days to one it was a wonderful celebration. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Maile Anderson

Photography has been a hobby of Maile Anderson’s ever since she was 12. Maile has had the immense privilege of traveling to amazing places in the world with a camera right beside her. She believes documenting the changing world, whether it’s been in the form of protests or other cultures, is an important form of documentation that keeps awareness heightened in this time of social justice. Follow Maile on Instagram @tinypicturetaker.

Colby, a First Nations man, began his own weekly march that meets at Occidental Square and continues to educate those who attend about the continual oppression against First Nations People. (Photo: Maile Anderson)
At the Indian Farm Workers solidarity rally, seeing youth and young kids get involved because it’s also their future we are fighting to change for the better. (Photo: Maile Anderson)
Two First Nations people during “Protect Every Vote.” (Photo: Maile Anderson)
Drag performer, Issa Man, performs a number during “Protect Every Vote”. (Photo: Maile Anderson)

Alex Garland

Alex Garland is a freelance photographer, reporter, and writer, with recent work featured with The Guardian and a frequent contributor to the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog (CHS), and the South Seattle Emerald. Alex started his journalism career in Seattle during the 2011 Occupy protests and has covered almost every major protest and activist movement in the city since. Published internationally, Alex enjoys working around the world, but calls Seattle home and cares deeply about the subjects he photographs and is grateful for the people and experiences he’s met along the way. Providing accurate information for the people of Seattle to determine their own opinions is vital, and Alex appreciates the trust his viewers and readers place in him to find the light. Follow his work at and

COVID was just taking hold when I learned of a book workers union being formed while a pandemic was just beginning to rage around us. It gave a little hope towards a brighter future on some pretty scary days. (Photo: Alex Garland)
This story and photos are important to me because it focused on two issues, COVID and immigrant detention, how there is a public health crisis in jails and detention centers around the country. (Photo: Alex Garland)
This story gave me an opportunity to report on social issues that are timely and relevant. Looking at how multiple issues impact and influence each other provides more context to our understanding of situations. (Photo: Alex Garland)

Featured image: Rapper Skye Dior (Photo: Chloe Collyer) 

Before you move on to the next story …
The South Seattle Emerald is brought to you by Rainmakers. Rainmakers give recurring gifts at any amount. With over 1,000 Rainmakers, the Emerald is truly community-driven local media. Help us keep BIPOC-led media free and accessible. 
If just half of our readers signed up to give $6 a month, we wouldn't have to fundraise for the rest of the year. Small amounts make a difference. 
We cannot do this work without you. Become a Rainmaker today!