Nashville Observations – The Tornado, The Pandemic, and Beyond

On March 23rd, 2020, less than three weeks after the Nashville tornado (see my gallery), a “safer at home” order was put in place by Mayor John Cooper to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Nobody knew how long it would last, but within a few weeks it became clear that 2020 was going to be a long, hard year. That turned out to be a mild assessment, considering shortages at the grocery stores, protests demanding racial justice, sudden unemployment, and an insane election season.

The first photos in the gallery are from East Nashville the morning of the devastating March 3rd tornado. The next, taken March 29th, 2020, is of Lower Broadway suddenly devoid of tourists. This was a catastrophic blow to what had been a booming economy. Music venues, restaurants, and hotels shut down. I saw more than a few musicians performing in parking lots as a way to pick up some extra money, and also just to find an audience. I started taking drives into the countryside, and experimented with nature photography around my house to keep my sanity. Then, in the summer, I started going downtown to get back to street photography, and continued those trips into the fall. I was picking up on sense of isolation and despair that was palpable, and felt it needed to be documented.

Since then, I’ve seen a return to a semblance of normalcy – crowds, commerce, and street life. I’ve continued to head downtown to make my photographic observations. A couple of favorite spots are Printers Alley and the Arcade, the latter of which is undergoing a radical transformation. I wanted to document some of the businesses there before the disappear. Most recently, I went to the Williamson County Fair, which was a people-watcher’s dream. My journey here at home in Nashville is ongoing, and I can’t wait to see what I find next.

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