The top 20 TU photos of 2020

By Lauren Castellana, Alex Wright, Nick Sibol & Rebecca Kirkman on January 4, 2021

Towson University photographers share their favorite photos from the past year

Photographers in face masks holding lighting equipment outside
TU photographers Lauren Castellana ’13, left, and Alexander Wright ’18 in July 2020. (Photo: Kanji Takeno)

Twenty-twenty was a year like no other. Through it all, Towson University’s award-winning photographic services team safely captured the Tiger stories that make us #TUproud every day.

Director of Photographic Services Lauren Castellana ’13, Assistant Director of Photographic Services Alexander Wright ’18 and student photographer Nicholas Sibol ’23 shared their favorite photos from the past year with us.

Towson University is a mask-on campus. The TU Department of Photographic Services works to ensure the health and safety of the Tiger community during all photoshoots. For more information about novel coronavirus health measures on campus, visit the Tigers Care page.


Stephens Hall with snow-covered grass and blue sky

“As university photographers, we capture how the campus changes throughout the four seasons. We might not have had much snow in 2020, but in January there was enough to capture the snow-covered ground surrounding Stephens Hall. I love how the building pops against the white snow and clear blue sky.” — Lauren Castellana


Diver underwater with reef and giant turtle

“This January project for a TU Magazine story highlighting National Aquarium employee Emily Anderson Kelly ’10, ’17 was one of the coolest shoots I’ve done since I started working at TU. Calypso stole the show with her massive size and friendly nature. Good thing she was hungry for Brussels sprouts that morning, because she swam right up to Emily for the perfect shot! It ended up being the spring 2020 issue cover photo.” — LC


Turtle under water

“I was honored to assist Lauren on this shoot. I especially loved shooting Calypso, as I’ve watched her grow on many trips to the aquarium since I was 2 years old. She sadly passed away a few weeks after our shoot, making this opportunity and the photos I captured that much more meaningful.” — Nick Sibol


Gymnist portrait at balance beam with chalk smoke and blue lighting

“It’s no secret that I like using gels to create colorful portraits. In this January shoot, we also used a mixture of chalk and a fog-like spray to make the motion of TU gymnast Emerson Hurst hitting the balance beam more dramatic. I am thankful to my team and art directors for letting me have the freedom to bring my crazy ideas to life.” — LC


Faculty portrait in Media Center lobby

“I was a bit nervous during this shoot in January, as it was my first time as the main photographer for an environmental portrait assignment. It was fitting that my subjects were professors in my major, electronic media and film. They were extremely nice, and with Lauren’s help, the photos turned out amazing. I’m proud that my photography can help show off my amazing professors.” — NS


Male and female dancer on stage with red backdrop

“This photo came from my first solo shoot as TU’s assistant director of photographic services, a role I assumed in February. While photographing the dance major recital, it was amazing to watch and capture all their dramatic and intricate movements.” — Alex Wright


Music performance on stage with violinist in foreground

“The best part of my job is showcasing the talents of TU students, faculty and staff. This photo was taken in early March during the rehearsal for PRISM, a collage of student ensembles and solo musicians under theatrical lighting from the music department. I got my start in photography capturing talented students during theatrical shows, so I felt right at home photographing this event.” — NS


Studio portrait

“In early March, I photographed about 10 participants of the Hussman Center for Adults with Autism. This was one of the most fun portrait photoshoots I have done for TU Magazine. Chris Hicks, who we have photographed before, is always smiling and so friendly. He posed for the photograph with a more serious look this time, and his expression just blew me away.” — LC


Environmental portrait of seated man

“I didn’t bring any lighting to this shoot at An Die Musik for TU Magazine, which is very unusual. By using only natural light, I challenged myself to think and shoot differently. Once we can all safely see live music again, I would highly encourage you to stop by An Die Musik.” — LC


Empty lecture hall seats with dark lighting

“Exactly a month after I started my job at TU, campus closed early for spring break due to COVID-19. I was the only person left in my office that day, and I decided to roam the usually bustling campus that had become a ghost town. I won’t forget how eerie it seemed, especially this classroom.” — AW


Black Lives Matter marchers on street holding signs

“Covering this student-organized march was one of the first times I had been back to campus to photograph since we were sent home because of the pandemic. But then, more than ever, it was important for our community to come together to march for social justice and for all Black lives.” — LC


TU sign with dog in foreground

“When classes moved online due to the pandemic, I would walk with my dog, Carla, from my home in Belvedere Square to campus to photograph all the changes in the spring. I couldn't pass up a glamour shot of my favorite pup with our new TU sign. It even became one of the coloring sheets you can download from the #TUtogether webpage!” — AW


Tiger statue with fall foliage in background

“Our small photography team covers a lot on campus. Not only do we shoot for the website, marketing materials, communications, social media, TU Magazine and other college magazines, we also document campus and the changing seasons.” — LC


Woman working in lab

“Since 2016, our team has done more than 300 shoots for the ‘About Our People’ section on each department’s webpage. In 2020, we found new ways to set up shoots so they were safe for everyone involved, like maintaining physical distance, wearing masks and shooting outside when possible.” — LC


Student with backpack in front of library portrait

“We got to photograph communications studies student Alexa Adams right at golden hour for an ‘About Our People’ story, and the bright, warm colors just radiate a positive vibe and upbeat energy. I thought it perfectly captured Alexa’s nature.” — AW


Singer portrait on stage in front of piano

Victoria Delgado is a vocal performance student we photographed for an ‘About Our People’ profile for the Department of Music. I love this shot because we got to set up our own stage lights, adding a bit of colorful flair. The campus may have been empty, but we still managed to breathe life into the scene and give Victoria a colorful photo.” — AW


Masked ballet dancers at barre

“In these uncertain times, the resilience of TU students is a bright spot. It was fascinating to witness a hybrid dance class in action, with half the students on Zoom and the other half masked and distanced within the dance studio. I was happy to capture a snapshot of what this experience was like for those who participated in hybrid classes.” — AW


Masked student at touch screen in lab

“We have some really cool technology on campus! These Anatomage tables in a College of Health Professions laboratory are life-sized and can feature real cadavers. I wanted these images to have a cool ‘CSI’ lab vibe, and I achieved that with a three-light setup.” — LC


Nursing student in personal protective equipment hangs IV bag in outdoor classroom

“Although most students, faculty and staff were working and learning from home during the fall term, there were still some who had to be on campus for labs and other in-person classes, including these nursing students. We captured students learning critical, hands-on skills at tents set up outside of the College of Liberal Arts.” — LC


Tiger statue at dusk wrapped with multicolor light strand

“On a freezing evening, we added some festive winter spirit to the Cook Library tiger statue by plugging a string of lights into a portable generator. It’s always fun to get creative and play around with lights and color on any shoot, and this one was a reminder of what cool effects we can pull off when we're in the holiday spirit and enjoying ourselves!” — AW