Texas Tribune photojournalists on the front line: photography in a year of pandemic and unrest

Texas Tribune photojournalists on the front line: photography in a year of pandemic and unrest

Personal protective equipment that Jordan Vonderhaar has used while covering protests and the COVID-19 pandemic. -

Photojournalist Jordan Vonderhaar has used personal protective equipment and other gear while covering protests and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune

As millions of Texans adapted to COVID-19 by working from home this year — including much of our staff — The Texas Tribune’s photojournalists went out to document a world upended by the pandemic.

And this summer, the nation reached a tipping point on the issues of racial injustice and police brutality. Protests and demonstrations erupted across the country. Cities and towns in Texas and beyond saw thousands turn out into the streets.

Our photojournalists were there. Emotions were high, and the situations encountered by demonstrators and police — and reporters and photographers —were volatile and sometimes dangerous. And by then, COVID-19 was spreading rapidly across the country.

What was it like to be at the forefront of these two massive stories? For our annual Texas Tribune Festival, Miguel Gutierrez Jr., head of the Tribune’s photo department, sat down (remotely) with four photographers to discuss their work in this tumultuous year: Eddie Gaspar, a nightside photo editor at the Tribune; freelancer Shelby Tauber, who is based in North Texas; Pu Ying Huang, a freelancer in Houston; and Jordan Vonderhaar, a Central Texas photographer.

Festival ticket holders can watch the discussion on demand starting at 8 a.m. Sunday through Sept. 30, the end of the Festival. For our readers not attending the Festival, here’s a look at some of the work from these photojournalists who helped us tell the stories of 2020, a year like no other.

Shelves in the toilet paper aisle of the Hancock HEB are completely empty as Austinites rushed to stock up on essentials during the COVID19 outbreak in March.

Shelves in the toilet paper aisle of the Hancock HEB are completely empty as Austinites rushed to stock up on essentials during the COVID19 outbreak in March.

Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune

Armed Protestors guard the memorial to Garrett Foster, who was shot and killed during a protest against police brutality in Austin in July.

Armed Protestors guard the memorial to Garrett Foster, who was shot and killed during a protest against police brutality in Austin in July.

Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune

First: Shelves in the toilet paper aisle of an H-E-B grocery store in Austin were empty as customers stocked up on essentials during the COVID-19 outbreak in March. Last: Armed demonstrators guarded the memorial to Garrett Foster, who was shot and killed during a protest against police brutality in Austin in July.

Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune

A police officer sprays a protester with pepper spray as protestors clashed with police in riot gear in downtown Austin on Aug. 1, 2020.

An Austin police officer pepper-sprayed someone as protesters clashed with police in riot gear in downtown Austin in August.

Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune

Personal protective equipment that photojournalist Miguel Gutierrez Jr. has used to cover protests, COVID-19 pandemic and various other stories for the Texas Tribune.

Photojournalist Miguel Gutierrez Jr. has used personal protective equipment and other gear to cover protests, the COVID-19 pandemic and various other stories for The Texas Tribune.

Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

Juan Lopez removes a dead body from a home in McAllen. July 17, 2020.

Juan Lopez removes the dead body of a person that died from COVID-19 in their home in McAllen in July.

Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

Nurses prepare to enter the COVID-19 unit at the Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Health System in Edinburg. June 30, 2020. Because of the risk of exposure to COVID-19, nurses are required to wear personal protective equipment.

Nurses prepare to enter the COVID-19 unit at the Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Health System in Edinburg. June 30, 2020. Because of the risk of exposure to COVID-19, nurses are required to wear personal protective equipment.

Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

First: In July, Juan Lopez removed the body of a person who died from COVID-19 at home in McAllen. Last: Nurses prepared to enter the COVID-19 unit at an Edinburg hospital in June.

Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

Protesters march east on Seventh Street in downtown Austin. The group marched in protest over the death of George Floyd during an arrest by the Minneapolis police department.

Demonstrators marched east in June on downtown Austin’s Seventh Street. The group marched in protest over the killing of George Floyd during an arrest by Minneapolis police.

Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

The Mount Calvary Baptist Churchís steeple lays entangled with tree debris on the ground after Hurricane Laura blew through Orange on Aug. 27, 2020.

Mount Calvary Baptist Church’s steeple lay on the ground, entangled with tree debris, after Hurricane Laura blew through Orange in August.

Credit: Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune

Protesters march through downtown Houston demanding accountability and justice for Black lives lost to police violence.

Protesters march through downtown Houston demanding accountability and justice for Black lives lost to police violence.

Credit: Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune

A hearse containing the body of George Floyd drives up a flag-lined street as it approaches the Fountain of Praise Church in Houston on June 8, 2020.

A hearse containing the body of George Floyd drives up a flag-lined street as it approaches the Fountain of Praise Church in Houston on June 8, 2020.

Credit: Annie Mulligan for The Texas Tribune

Protesters gathered at a rally for George Floyd in Houston. Floyd, a former Houston resident, was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis during an attempted arrest.

Protesters gathered at a rally for George Floyd in Houston. Floyd, a former Houston resident, was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis during an attempted arrest.

Credit: Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune

First: Protesters marched through downtown Houston, demanding accountability and justice for Black lives lost to police violence. Next: A hearse containing George Floyd’s body drove up a flag-lined street as it approached the Fountain of Praise Church in Houston in June. Last: Protesters gathered at a Houston rally in memory of Floyd. The former Houston resident was killed in Minneapolis police custody.

Credit: Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune

Protesters run away as Dallas police officers launch tear gas after a confrontation during a rally for George Floyd on May 29, 2020.

Protesters ran away as Dallas police officers launched tear gas after a confrontation during a May rally for George Floyd.

Credit: Shelby Tauber for The Texas Tribune

Declan True listens to kindergarten teacher Mrs. Hogan on the first day of in-person classes at Highland Village Elementary.

Declan True listens to kindergarten teacher Mrs. Hogan on the first day of in-person classes at Highland Village Elementary.

Credit: Shelby Tauber for The Texas Tribune

A health care worker speaks to a patient at a drive-thru testing site at Exceptional Medical Plaza in Garland on June 30, 2020.

A health care worker speaks to a patient at a drive-thru testing site at Exceptional Medical Plaza in Garland on June 30, 2020.

Credit: Shelby Tauber for The Texas Tribune

First: Declan True listens to his kindergarten teacher on the first day of in-person classes at Highland Village Elementary. Last: A health care worker spoke to a patient at a drive-thru testing site in Garland in June.

Credit: Shelby Tauber for The Texas Tribune

Taylor Putnam comforts her friend Veronica Holmes at a vigil honoring those whose lives were lost to police shootings at Freedman's Memorial Cemetery on May 31.

Taylor Putnam comforts her friend Veronica Holmes at a vigil in Dallas honoring people killed in police shootings.

Credit: Shelby Tauber for The Texas Tribune

Austin Police officers watch a crowd of protestors near their police headquarters in May.

Austin police officers watched a crowd of protesters in May near police headquarters.

Credit: Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune

Police officers on horseback approach a crowd gathered to protest the deaths of George Floyd and Mike Ramos, in Austin on May 30, 2020.

Police officers on horseback approach a crowd gathered to protest the deaths of George Floyd and Mike Ramos, in Austin on May 30, 2020.

Credit: Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune

Nurses Amber Phillips, left, and Kristen Howell administer COVID-19 tests at the Austin Regional Clinic drive-up testing center in Kyle on March 31, 2020.

Nurses Amber Phillips, left, and Kristen Howell administer COVID-19 tests at the Austin Regional Clinic drive-up testing center in Kyle on March 31, 2020.

Credit: Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune

First: Austin police officers on horseback approached demonstrators who gathered in May to protest the killings of George Floyd and Mike Ramos. Last: Nurses Amber Phillips, left, and Kristen Howell administered COVID-19 tests in March at the Austin Regional Clinic drive-thru testing center in Kyle.

Credit: Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune

Austin residents take photos on Congress Avenue bridge in Austin on May 13, 2020.

People took photos on Austin’s Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge during a flyover by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds in May.

Credit: Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune


Source: Texas Tribune