I’m starting a new long series from the west coast, from the Los Angeles area. I made this photo back in December 2019, pre-pandemic, of course. I shot this on a United Airlines flight from Austin to Los Angeles with my family around Christmas time.
A year ago, on the blog, I was featuring photos from Singapore. I ended up finishing that series just as the news about the pandemic became dire. I then switched over to local coverage, showing its effects in Austin.
Last year, given all the serious news, it just didn’t feel right showing pictures from Disneyland. Maybe it still doesn’t. But, I’m getting increasingly optimistic. With the latest COVID spike decreasing and the vaccine rollout increasing, I think we’ve turned the corner. It might take until summer, or even a little later, but normalcy will be returning.
What is unknown is the long-term societal and economic impact of the pandemic. Will we return to the same life we had before 2020? Or will certain things be irrevocably different? Generations from now, will people speak in terms of the pre-COVID world vs. the post-COVID world?
I looked through the library of pictures from Disneyland and the rest of our Los Angeles trip. Though it was a little over a year ago since I made these, they feel like something from a distant world. Disneyland closed a few months after I visited, and it still hasn’t re-opened. Tragically, many of the employees there have lost their jobs.
When I present these photos, will it seem like documenting a lost world pre-COVID? Or conversely, can it be viewed optimistically as something we will be returning to soon? I’m choosing to believe the latter. And, yes, while it’s ultimately just an amusement park, I see it as a proxy for our world at large functioning in a healthy way both societally and economically.
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