Words: NAIT staff
| Images: Leigh Kovesy, Blaise van Malsen
18 Dec, 2020
NAIT photographers capture a year like no other
As the pandemic has evolved, 2020 has become synonymous for the hardship, heartache and mishaps we’ve all endured this year, some more than others.
As much as we’d like to write off the entire year and focus on the next, 2020 still had its share of memorable moments at NAIT that were captured by our photographers. Looking back at how our students and staff persevered, there’s a lot to look back upon fondly – and much to be proud of.
It’s easy to forget that 2020 wasn’t always so rough. A snowy day in January was more than memorable for this group of NAIT international students, who volunteered to frolic amid the snowflakes for photographer Leigh Kovesy (Photographic Technology ’01). “We weren’t thinking about taking snowstorm pictures, but that’s what happened on the day. They were having such a good time in the snow, it was fun to capture.”
From the same photoshoot, this image of Business Administration - Management student Kritesh Thakur stood out for Kovesy. “He was up for anything and had such a great attitude. And he wore that big coat, which I thought looked fun.”
Another pre-pandemic highlight for Kovesy was getting to shoot images for NAIT’s new Glazier program. “The students seemed to enjoy being at NAIT and in this photo I enjoyed how the frames lead the eye straight to him. It also has a great backdrop.”
Kovesy woke up extra early on a frigid morning last January to capture this festive image of the Spartan Centre for Instrumentation Technology and Petro-Canada Centre for Millwright Technology, which was still decked with holiday lights. “Not many people were up yet. I really like how the green light contrasts with the cold blue morning.”
Every year, Biological Sciences - Conservation Biology students brave the elements near Cynthia, Alberta for winter survival training. Last January, Kovesy tagged along and captured this photo of a team building a lean-to shelter. “They were like busy beavers, but they were having a lot of fun with it. The snow was up to our knees, but it was warm out and the light was really pretty.”
What makes a winter city
In 2020, the Landscape Architecture Technology program launched a new course about winter city design. Students got to explore the city to see how winter design principles are used to make spaces more welcoming year-round. One of the highlights was a trip to the Silver Skate Festival (remember public events?). “They were having such a great time. The light was beautiful in the late morning.”
Silver Skate was also the backdrop for this picture-perfect winter composition by photographer Blaise van Malsen. “Her expression is nice and the softness of the muted colours look like a painting,” Kovesy says.
Surveying the surroundings
Afternoon sun last February added warmth to this photo of students from the Civil Engineering Technology program, who walked to nearby Airways Park for a surveying exercise. “It was just a beautiful, beautiful day.”
River runs through
An applied research collaboration between NAIT and Inter Pipeline to study microplastics in the North Saskatchewan River provided a backdrop for this image of researchers collecting water samples. “It was a chilly day – I’m pretty sure they were freezing – but it was a calm day,” says Kovesy. “The blue sky and blue of the river appealed to me.”
Stainless steel workstations inside NAIT’s new Centre for Culinary Innovation provided a reflective backdrop for this image of research assistant Joshua Ward. “He was making macarons that day and was very focused. I like how desaturated this image is with not much colour.”
An unusual fall term
Few images shot this past year capture the stark shift in daily routines than this one of Combined Laboratory X-Ray Technology students decked out in personal protective equipment (PPE) in the lab. It was Kovesy’s first photoshoot on campus after the lockdown and when NAIT relaunched for the fall term with a blend of virtual and hands-on learning. “It felt a bit different [to observe], but they went about their business.”
This image was also shot during the first couple weeks of the fall term and shows a Biological Sciences – Environmental Monitoring and Assessment student gathering samples for identifying different components of soil. It was a welcome break from virtual meetings. “You could tell she loved what she was doing.”
Shot the same day as the above, smoke from wildfires in the U.S. added a hazy, beautiful light at Whitemud Park. “I like how the fall colours come through and match his vest.”
In the auto body shop
Another shoot from the fall captured the experiences of apprentices from the skilled trades during the pandemic. This image of an Auto Body Technician apprentice repairing a vehicle door offers a framed view of working in the shop in full PPE.
The pandemic has at times required shifting from in-person dining at Ernest’s Dining Room to curbside pickup, including tiffin lunches on Fridays. The pivot allowed Culinary Arts students to continue their hands-on education. “Each student had one dessert they had to do – she was very intent, focused.”
Students in the Radio and TV - TV program are learning with a blend of virtual and hands-on. On this day in the TV studio, students were practising with equipment while waiting for further instruction. “I just love the lighting in this one.”
In the lab, Biological Sciences - Conservation Biology students referenced textbooks to help identify plant samples. After months of virtual technology, “it was nice to photograph something with books.”
The Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program provided a high-tech focal point for this image of mechatronics equipment used in manufacturing. Kovesy took pains to shine a blue-tinted light through the window, for a “cool, high tech” look.
A moment to remember
Yes, it’s back to winter and pre-pandemic. New experiences are what post-secondary is all about and this image of Kulveer, a Bachelor of Business Administration – Accounting student from India, represents a joyful moment in time. “This was her first winter in Canada. She loved the snow and was so happy about it, she didn’t care about the cold.” After the year we’ve all experienced, this moment of joy is how we’ll choose to remember 2020.