The images in this book tell the story of what it was like to live through the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s through sharing the stories that we can begin to grasp the injustices faced by communities everywhere. What happens when a global and highly connected society retreats into itself? What happens when we are forced, like never before, to examine who we are? To answer that, looking deeper into what exactly happened is key. So in this book we will look deeply into the stories people were telling through their images, highlighting 2020 in two parts:

Part 1 tells the story of finding ourselves more alone than we have ever been—and many of us feeling this for the first time in our lives. The images show changes in our lifestyles, emotions, and habits, and the personal transformations many of us experienced.

Part 2 tells the story of our coming together, despite all the obstacles and hardships. We come together out of necessity for survival, not out of the luxury of choice. The images capture the authenticity of long-overdue movements and protests, and the explosive energy that bubbled to the surface.

Although seemingly opposite, these two human experiences are fundamentally connected, and in fact part of the story of humanity. As we faced a new reality of introversion and introspection, revealed in part 1, seeds were planted and then grew rapidly into the connectedness and momentum illustrated in part 2.

The images taken during this time are historic. The collection represents a microcosm of our global world from its most privileged to its most underserved populations and the injustices that naturally arise as a result. The year 2020 uncovered a lot of deep-seated injustices that already existed and proved to us that there is little that can stand in the way of people’s demands for dignity and basic needs, not even a global pandemic. Although all of us were forced into isolation, we were never truly disconnected, in part because of the technology that helps us share our experiences with one another. This book is dedicated to the individuals and communities fighting for basic rights, and to the photographers and everyday people who captured these historic moments.

Excerpted from THE YEAR TIME STOPPED by Christina Hawatmeh and Nour Chamoun and reprinted with permission from HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2022, Scopio Technologies.