Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

The pictures that captured 2020 | Morning Newsletter

And, the true key to snow totals.

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

First: Every year, Inquirer photojournalists capture decisive moments. And for this historic year, our photographers documented moments of anger, of joy, of life being lived, and the triumph of human spirit. These photos tell the story of 2020.

Then: We got an up-close look at the region’s first major winter storm in 1,000 days.

And: A new study reveals how it’s not as easy to keep the coronavirus at bay as experts may have once thought.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_ashleyhoffman,

Today we’re unveiling our look at the year in pictures.

They capture, in an instant, the pluck of Philly’s people. People rallying to stare down unprecedented hardships of the pandemic, people fighting for seismic reform after decades of racism and police brutality, and people taking to the streets for a highly contested election race for the history books. They’re the people of our world. These images stand out in a year of crisis, and the photos have a web of similarity. Through it all, Philly has done what it does best: We rise. That’s visible in the people who stood up, who stood out, who threw their heads back in joy and wept.

Get a look at the whole project.

And place yourself in some of The Inquirer’s best photos of 2020 with these downloadable backgrounds, if you like. Our photo editors chose iconic Philly pictures for you to download to use as a background for any video conferencing app.

It happened. Steady snow accumulated in the region. And the forecast on just how much got deposited has changed. While precipitation has slowed, there’s still a winter storm warning in effect for Philadelphia and the collar counties until 10 a.m. Our story maps how precisely the onslaught has inundated our region with the latest news.

But an uncertain time calls for an uncertain storm. Right on cue, it’s a weird one. Take it from weather reporter Anthony R. Wood, who really did write the book on Snow. Here’s what makes this storm so peculiar.

Helpful COVID-19 Resources

  1. Check the latest coronavirus-related restrictions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

  2. Here are the updated coronavirus case numbers as COVID-19 continues to spread across the region.

  3. Are you seeing people again after having COVID-19? Read our checklist first.

  4. Is it safe to travel this winter? If you are, here’s a full breakdown on how to stay safer away from home wherever you stay and however you get there.

  5. What are the first symptoms of the coronavirus and what are the differences in COVID-19, the flu, a common cold, and allergies?

  6. Everything you need to know about buying, washing, replacing, and wearing face masks.

  7. You were exposed to COVID-19. Does everyone in your house have to quarantine?

  8. Sign up to get free coronavirus news updates in your inbox three times a week.

What you need to know today

  1. Six feet away may not be far enough. New information reveals an emerging COVID-19 threat that may be bigger than experts thought, proving we can underestimate this virus at our own risk.

  2. Those 150 restaurants (at least) that kept their doors open in loud defiance of the state indoor dining ban? They got warnings, the state reported yesterday. Here’s what happens next if they keep flouting the guidelines.

  3. Pennsylvania is shaking up nursing home regulations for the first time since the late 1990s. That all started long before the long-term care facilities everywhere became a national stage for the pandemic to play out. As for what regulations are changing, the state won’t say.

  4. President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration will look different for a different kind of president. Meet the Philly woman who’s helping plan it.

  5. Think beyond Pittsburgh and Philly as Democratic vote drivers. The 2020 election clearly established this county as a powerful Democratic stronghold in Pennsylvania that showed up huge for Biden.

  6. Yes, you still need to wear a mask after you get the COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s why.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Look who’s embracing the snowy weather. Thanks for sharing, @chris19129.

And thank you all for taking part in our Year in Pictures by submitting your #OurPhilly photos. Our photographers made their selections to reflect what this year looked like through your lens in our community gallery as part of the project.

As always, tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout-out!

That’s interesting

  1. ❄️ We’ve got into the thick of it to get some snapshots of people dashing through the snow yesterday.

  2. 🍹 Should you mix your own cocktail of your choice? Or is a hot toddy or a “Winter Collins” tipple from the one and only Art in the Age more suitable? We listed the best cocktail kits.

  3. 🖼️ Ask yourself: Have you ever heard of an art-theft story you didn’t love? Jeff Lindsay’s latest novel centers on a stolen fresco that kicks off a seriously intense yarn.

  4. 🥩 Zahav’s yurt village where people can tuck into a private yurt for a warm prix fixe dinner isn’t just a seasonal pivot. It may be a window to the future of what dining can be. For some, anyway. Co-owner Michael Solomonov knows that. Restaurant critic Craig LaBan takes you inside the special experience.

  5. 🎨 This award-winning professor wants to rethink how Black artists depict death and how we see it. She started with a spirit guide.

  6. 🍪 How our food editor, Jamila Robinson, brings her sparkly gingerbread cookies home with culture and distinguished charm.


“As the first Americans get the coronavirus vaccine, the end to this pandemic may be in sight. The question is how many people will survive the winter to get the vaccine. A critical part of the final push is maintaining people in their homes. The CDC must extend the order halting evictions — and Congress needs to step up and provide critical financial relief to tenants, landlords, and homeowners. An eviction avalanche leading to a surge in coronavirus and homelessness starting on New Year’s Day is no way to set 2021 as a year of recovery.” – the Inquirer Editorial Board writes that the timing of the order halting the expiration of all evictions could not be worse.

  1. Can fish oil actually help cut your heart attack risk? Cardiologist David Becker weighs in with his recommendations.

  2. As 2020 ends, what’s one thing you changed this year that you want to keep in 2021? Before we end one of the most challenging years many of us have ever experienced, we want to hear from you: What is one thing you have gained through this experience — whether it’s an idea, a habit, a lesson, an outlook, or something else — that you hope to carry forward into the new year? We’ll publish select responses in print and online on Dec. 25. Let us know by filling out this quick form.

What we’re reading

  1. So legalized marijuana is coming to New Jersey. What now? Rolling Stone lays out this month’s steps starting with today’s vote.

  2. Sitting around and stewing? Why not curl up with the best takeout soups and stews listed by Philly Mag.

  3. The Hollywood Reporter analyzed the top streamed shows and here’s what people can’t stop bingeing.

Your Daily Dose of | Dressing

To bond with his daughter, this Philly dad taught himself how to sew. Now, he makes all her outfits (and some for himself, too).

People call him Sew Bro. To bond with his daughter, this self-taught human sewing machine of a West Philly dad designs and creates all the clothes for his daughter. Do they sometimes match? Yes. In floral prints? Yes. Did he make her a custom princess dress and matching headband? Yes and yes.

He chronicles it all with the blog Daddy Dressed Me, and we’ll just let more photos of them twinning take over.