Curtis Compton has been a visual journalist with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for nearly 30 years and has covered his share of news in that time. Of 2020, he says: “It was the most historic and unusual of my career.”

If it’s sports – baseball, football, soccer, golf, basketball – Compton can be found nearby, and that was no different at the start of 2020. Compton had wrapped up his favorite assignment of the year (Braves Spring Training in Florida) when COVID-19 changed everything. He had been paying attention to the coronavirus news, so when the pandemic spread and sports play dried up, Compton shifted gears. He turned his focus to how the virus affected senior care facilities and nursing homes, seeking visual stories and access to document that story.

The year wasn’t just about COVID-19, although the virus affected everything. In between virus coverage, Compton was a key part of the coverage of summer protests, John Lewis’ funeral, the elections and the deadly tornado in Chatsworth (Don’t feel bad if you don’t remember. It’s been that kind of year.)

Then sports came back. “Every game is a gift,” he said of the Braves’ return. But it wasn’t exactly the same. With no fans and being limited to shooting from the stands instead of the field, Compton was in new territory, and that is saying something for someone who has covered the Masters for 35 years.

As a visual journalist, he’s eager to see the days when COVID concerns are over and he can be back on the field, on the sidelines and courtside.

In the meantime, Compton continues to document life and events throughout Metro Atlanta and Georgia. Two of his images were recognized in CNN’s photos of the year and another in New York Times’ photos of the year.

Watch this Behind the Lens video for Curtis Compton’s perspective on 2020: