Santa Cruz Sentinel photographer Shmuel Thaler totes his camera during last year's CZU fires in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
(Kevin Painchaud / “2020 Hindsight”)
The Here & Now

Meet the local photographers who chronicled the traumas of 2020

The Santa Cruz photojournalists behind the dazzling new book ‘2020 Hindsight’ talk about their experiences in live virtual event Tuesday

Making sense of the traumas of 2020 is going to be a long process and, at least for those of us in Santa Cruz County, there may be no better way to look back for lessons than a beautiful new book titled “2020 Hindsight: Looking Back on a Tumultuous Year in Santa Cruz County.”

On Tuesday, I am thrilled to be joined in a virtual event with the book’s two primary authors — photojournalists Shmuel Thaler and Kevin Painchaud. The book grew from an idea planted by Painchaud and nurtured and cultivated by Thaler, who served as its editor.

“2020 Hindsight” could be thought of as a kind of distillation of what justifiably be four separate books, if you believe that the pandemic, the CZU fires, the BLM movement for social justice, and the 2020 elections were all stories that each deserve individual attention.

That all these history-changing events went down in one calendar year makes the book a compelling document of what we all lived through.

There are many essays looking back at the year, particularly how it related to people in our county. But ultimately “Hindsight” is a tribute to photojournalism and the amazing work of two fine professional photographers, both of whom I’m proud to call a friend and colleague.


Meet The Authors

Tuesday’s virtual event, sponsored by Bookshop Santa Cruz, takes place at 7 p.m. It’s free, but be sure to register.