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

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

Photojournalists are regularly in the thick of things when they cover stories, but 2020 has made their jobs even more difficult. Here's a look at the work of five Tribune photographers in this extraordinary year — and some of the gear they've used.

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 dur…
Armed Protestors guard the memorial to Garrett Foster, who was shot and killed during a protest against police brutality in …
A police officer sprays a protester with pepper spray as protestors clashed with police in riot gear in downtown Austin on A…
Personal protective equipment that photojournalist Miguel Gutierrez Jr. has used to cover protests, COVID-19 pandemic and va…
Juan Lopez removes a dead body from a home in McAllen. July 17, 2020.
Nurses prepare to enter the COVID-19 unit at the Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Health System in Edinburg. June 30, 2020. B…

Protesters march east on Seventh Street in downtown Austin. The group marched in protest over the death of George Floyd duri…
The Mount Calvary Baptist Churchís steeple lays entangled with tree debris on the ground after Hurricane Laura blew through …
Protesters march through downtown Houston demanding accountability and justice for Black lives lost to police violence.
A hearse containing the body of George Floyd drives up a flag-lined street as it approaches the Fountain of Praise Church in…
Protesters gathered at a rally for George Floyd in Houston. Floyd, a former Houston resident, was killed in Minneapolis poli…
Protesters run away as Dallas police officers launch tear gas after a confrontation during a rally for George Floyd on May 2…
Declan True listens to kindergarten teacher Mrs. Hogan on the first day of in-person classes at Highland Village Elementary.
A health care worker speaks to a patient at a drive-thru testing site at Exceptional Medical Plaza in Garland on June 30, 20…
Taylor Putnam comforts her friend Veronica Holmes at a vigil honoring those whose lives were lost to police shootings at Fre…
Austin Police officers watch a crowd of protestors near their police headquarters in May.
Police officers on horseback approach a crowd gathered to protest the deaths of George Floyd and Mike Ramos, in Austin on Ma…
Nurses Amber Phillips, left, and Kristen Howell administer COVID-19 tests at the Austin Regional Clinic drive-up testing cen…
Austin residents take photos on Congress Avenue bridge in Austin on May 13, 2020.

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