Visual journalist Bob Andres started the year in New Orleans covering the Sugar Bowl. But just before then, his laptop suddenly died, meaning he couldn’t transmit photos for publication. After several alternatives failed, two co-workers drove from Atlanta to hand-deliver a replacement.

“I should have known at that time that it was an omen for how 2020 would be,” Andres said.

Andres has been with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution since 1998 as a visual journalist and editor. Typically, he spends the bulk of the year photographing a variety of assignments from the Georgia Assembly to special projects like the Harper Archer Elementary School, a new turnaround school to help struggling students in Atlanta. When COVID-19 ravaging Europe but was not entrenched in the U.S., he photographed a Georgia Tech professor known for modeling mass disease outbreaks who shared her thoughts that unless things didn’t shut down, 30,000 people could die in the coming months. That was in March.

As COVID-19 spread in the United States and the 2020 news cycle shifted into overdrive, Andres put down his camera to take on a more administrative role. The newsroom closed the office; reporters and editors were working from home while visual journalists were actively on assignment. Communication and coordination were more crucial than ever.

Andres worked on issues ranging from negotiating access with the Georgia National Guard to securing and outfitting photographers with PPE. He helped coordinate coverage of Black Lives Matters protests, which often required managing multiple photographers at multiple locations late into the night. He also implemented photo transmission technology that resulted in near real-time photo coverage, which the team continued to use at events such as the funeral of Congressman John Lewis, and sports events such as the Masters and UGA football.

Andres is hopeful that the pandemic will ease and he will go back to his first love, photography.

Watch this Behind the Lens video for Bob Andres’ perspective on 2020: