Photojournalist Leah Hennel’s intimate portfolio of photos documenting the impact of COVID-19 on life in Alberta during the pandemic.
Leah Hennel has been documenting Alberta’s frontline workers and the COVID-19 patients they care for as an Alberta Health Services staff photographer since the early days of the pandemic. Showcasing the lives of those who refused to give up in the face of adversity, Hennel’s photographs beautifully illustrate how citizens, doctors, nurses, and patients in Alberta have adapted and found safe new ways to celebrate, socialize, and work during a time of global chaos. At the same time, these sensitive and haunting images dramatically illustrate how Albertans have dealt with the death, tragedy, and uncertainty that the pandemic has wrought upon the province.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a watershed moment in world history. In many ways, it has reshaped the way we live our lives, and many of its effects will live on. As time goes by, though, the memory of these past months will start to fade and life will eventually ease back into some kind of normalcy. But these photographs and the stories they tell will always be here, providing a record of this historic event and a reminder that catastrophe can strike at any time.
Stories of resilience and courage, of suffering and celebration, are everywhere in today’s world. Alone Together shines a revelatory light on one particular place during an unprecedented – and ongoing – global event.
About the authors
Leah Hennel originally dreamt of being a veterinarian. And until Grade 12 she thought she would be. But her marks, math in particular, cured her of that dream. While in high school, she jumped at a chance to explore a work-experience option in the Calgary Sun photography department. As it turned out, that practicum was the best thing that ever happened to her, as it opened her eyes to an exciting field and eventually led Hennel to the SAIT photojournalism program, from which she graduated in 1998. She built a fulfilling career at Calgary’s daily newspapers – the Sun and the Herald – and now works as a freelancer. She’s travelled all over Alberta and to most parts of Canada, as well as to Europe and Africa. She’s won a few awards along the way too, but what’s most important to her is that being a photographer still doesn’t feel like a job. Leah lives in Calgary, Alberta.
Shelley Boettcher is an award-winning Calgary-based writer whose work has appeared in magazines and newspapers around the world, including The New York Times, The Guardian and The Globe and Mail. She is part of the communications team at Alberta Health Services.