21 Moments from 2021.

Santa Fe College Photographer Matt Stamey shares his 21 favorite photos from 2021. This collection is a mix of important college events and visually stunning images capturing the essence of life at SF. Enjoy!

The Santa Fe College Fine Arts Department presents Winds Go Pop concert outside the Jackson N. Sasser Fine Arts Hall on the Northwest Campus, March 4, 2021. This was one of the first events back on campus. A safe, outside, socially distanced concert with amazing lighting. The reflection from the rock garden pond was just the icing on top.
Students in the Life Painting class at SF work on their paintings outside Building E Jan. 27, 2021. I’ve seen this class painting a lot, but this time it was different. We were all finally back on campus, so, for me, this image represents our safe return.
Santa Fe College Dance students pose for photos April 9, 2021 to promote the student choreographed performance of Room to Dance. This is one of my favorite assignments every year. The collaboration between the dancers, their instructors and myself is a really awesome mix of creative and artistic minds.
An SF student walks past Building A on Feb. 3, 2021. I love how light and shadows fall across parts of the Northwest Campus. I keep my camera with me all the time just in case I see some cool shapes and lines.
Santa Fe College Saints men’s basketball player Yaw Obeng-Mensah against Daytona State College on March 24, 2021. March Madness was alive at SF. I’ve been wanting to set up a remote camera on the backboard for a while. I’m glad I did for this game. The SF forward drove right down the middle of the lane and threw down this nasty dunk.
SF President Paul Broadie II, Ph.D. speaks during a ceremony to officially mark the opening of the LGBTQ+ Resource Center on the Northwest Campus on March 29, 2021. The effort to establish the center was led by students. They worked with college officials to envision the center as a place that is welcoming to all students. Part of my job is to document the history of the college, and the opening of this resource center marks a really important milestone.
Santa Fe College partnered with the Alachua County Health Department to host an event to distribute vaccines at the Fine Arts Hall on April 15, 2021. Vaccines were the talk of the world at the start of 2021. So when SF was able to host a vaccine event, I had to be there to document it. It was such an important step toward helping us return to in-person classes and being able to safely host events and return to campus.
A blanket of fog covered the Northwest Campus on Feb. 11, 2021. I’m a sucker for fog – I love how it looks. So on this February morning I grabbed my long lens and wandered the campus to get some images of our students going to class through the fog.
The Santa Fe College Saints softball team celebrates after clinching a spot in the state tournament on April 22, 2021. If you haven’t been to one of our sporting events, you’re missing out. These athletes give everything they have to compete. And when they win, their emotions show. It’s exciting and you can’t help but get excited for them. These ladies just won to advance to the state tournament and thankfully had silly string on hand to help make this photo even more exciting.
SF adjunct professor Kate Murray teaches a pottery class in one of the art studios on July 1, 2021. I’m always trying to see things differently, so when I attended the pottery class I played around with putting some finished pieces in front of my lens to frame the interaction between teacher and student.
Just a few of Santa Fe College College Teaching Zoo’s gibbons. Cajun, the mom, and her two babies photographed on July 22, 2021. I’ll never take for granted how awesome it is that we have a zoo on campus. I get to photograph beautiful animals on a regular basis for my job! So when the zoo’s mommy gibbon had two babies about a year apart, I spent a lot of time documenting the family. Here, the youngest gets a meal while Cusa, the one-year-old, keeps a close eye on things.
A Santa Fe College graduate during the drive through graduation outside the Jackson N. Sasser Fine Arts Hall on April 29, 2021. With many in-person events put on hold because of the pandemic, SF pivoted to a drive-through graduation. Not only was it a huge success but it made for some really fun graduation photos! I’ve been photographing the same kinds of gradation ceremonies for nearly 20 years. So to finally be able to make a different kind of graduation photo was a plus for me.
Dr. Mona Ahmed Ashour, a professor of English and English Literature at Ain Shams University in Cairo, was selected by the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board in early 2019 but had to postpone her visit to Florida due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Seen here photographed on Aug. 20, 2021, she will be at SF through May of 2022. Two things I really like about this photo – 1) how great it is that Dr. Ashour is on our campus. To have a Fulbright Scholar with us is incredible; and 2) I love the lighting in the Fine Arts Hall lobby! I have all sorts of lighting equipment, but none of it’s needed in there because of the large windows. It’s just a great place to make portraits.
Santa Fe College women’s basketball player Olivia Smith flips her hair for a photo to promote the upcoming season on Sept. 17, 2021. The photo days for the athletics teams are one of my favorite assignments. There’s no hard rule on what they need to look like so we get to play around with lighting, background and poses to come up with fun images. Toward the end of the photoshoot, a few of the athletes started playing with their hair. So I asked if they’d stand against a section of the Maser Mural behind Building E and flip their hair. Olivia’s beautiful hair and peaceful facial expression made this a really powerful image.
Santa Fe College instructor Mark House teaches a HyFlex class in Building B on Sept. 8, 2021. This isn’t all that great of a photo, but it shows what classes look like during a pandemic. This hybrid class shows virtual and in-person learning. That’s a sign of the times and I’d like to think years from now, this photo will give those who see it a good idea of how we adapted to the pandemic.
President Paul Broadie II, Ph.D. speaks during SF’s Community College Administrator Program (CCAP) luncheon event at the Fine Arts Hall on Oct. 25, 2021. One of my favorite photographers is Pete Sousa. He was the photographer for both Presidents Regan and Obama. Whenever I’m around President Broadie, I try to think “How would Pete document this?” Pete does such a great job of making mundane situations look extraordinary. So instead of the standard “speaker at a microphone” photo, I tried to make it look a little more interesting by silhouetting the president against the Fine Arts Hall windows.
Santa Fe College Construction students work to raise a wall on the Habitat for Humanity House on on Sept. 29, 2021. I love to brag about how our students build a house every year. I’m always impressed at how every fall, Building O is empty. And by the end of the spring semester, there’s an entire house inside. I’m glad I went on a day when they were standing up the walls. It made for a great moment.
An SF pole banner behind blooming Mexican petunias on Sept. 22, 2021. I have a good idea of when most of the plants around campus bloom. I use the different variety of plants we have to create what I call “Campus Beauty” images. These are just pretty photos of different scenes around campus that we can use for a variety of purposes.
The SF Teaching Zoo and SF Police Department delivered food to Catholic Charities that was collected during their Ghosts, Goblins and Groceries food drive on Nov. 4, 2021. With the cancelation of Boo at the Zoo for a second year, (insert sad face here) it was nice to see that the community still came together to donate food for Catholic Charities and SF’s own food bank. It was an important moment for the zoo and the police department to be able to deliver so much food. And as an added bonus, the newly-wrapped zoo van had my photos on it and it worked really well as a background for this photo!
Roberto Garcia is hit with a water ballon during the Inaugural Fall Festival put on by Student Life and Student Government on the Oak Grove on Oct. 27, 2021. I can’t tell you how excited I was that we finally had an event back on the Oak Grove. These events create so many wonderful moments of our students just being students. Going almost two years without being able to see our students having fun and interacting in person was tough. I’m glad Mr. Garcia here decided to take one for the team and get hit with a water balloon.
We’re back! The reopening of the Jackson N. Sasser Fine Arts Hall featured the academic programs housed in the building, with a best of the best concert. SF singers, dancers, actors and musicians delighted audiences for two nights on Dec. 3 and 4, 2021. I LOVE photographing live theater and performances. I got goosebumps watching this show. After almost two years of watching our students perform virtually it was such a thrill to use all my senses to enjoy a performance. And this image has such power and enthusiasm that I thought it best represented how we all felt to finally return for the show.

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