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2022 in photos

In 2022, as the Stanford community continued to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, life on the Farm began to feel a little more like normal.

Stanford students, postdocs, faculty, and staff returned to their dorms, classrooms, labs, and offices. Notable guests visited campus. Live events returned to entertain us. Art installations resumed and even fountain hopping made a comeback. Stanford also welcomed new areas of academic growth and research advancement, most notably with the launch of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability.

Throughout the year, university photographer Andrew Brodhead was there to capture it all. Here’s a look back at some of his favorite frames that helped tell the Stanford story in 2022.

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

Feb. 8, 2022: Using advanced 3D printing techniques, Stanford scientist Jessica Herrmann transforms a paste made of living cells into hearts and other organs.

“This was in the lab of Mark Skylar-Scott. In order to run this experiment, the researchers had to use hair gel and UV light to illuminate the printing matrix. It was a tight room and I decided to get behind the printer looking into the face of a scientist, to capture them both. It created this nice separation between the background and the foreground in a very cliché, science-fiction kind of way.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

March 1, 2022: A jogger takes to the trail around Lake Lagunita.

“I was on a different assignment at the time and when I looked toward the lake, I realized there was this beautiful contrast separating the sky as light cascaded across the stairs. I just stood there for a little while framing up my camera. A student ran straight up the stairs, I snapped a photo. It’s really beautiful how the sunlight dances and illuminates those little pieces of green, as their shadows are elongated. There’s a lot of expression going on between the figures on the right. Stanford is not only an active place but a place where people have meaningful conversations.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

March 4, 2022: Members of the community gather in White Plaza to stand in solidarity with Ukraine.

“What started off as a small rally turned into a gathering of a few hundred people. I wanted to show Ukrainian students and what they were dealing with, so I asked a few individuals to allow me to take their portraits. It was an intense experience but I also feel fortunate that students felt comfortable enough to shed tears and tell me their thoughts about the conflict. They were very vulnerable.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

March 8, 2022: John Kerry, United States special presidential envoy for climate, tours Professor Yi Cui’s lab during a visit to campus to learn about the launch of the new Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability.

“Sometimes I’m so visually attached to an assignment that I’m not able to hear exactly what’s going on. But there are moments when I can’t unhear things because it’s such baffling information. Like in this lab, hearing that lithium batteries can be the size of a small hard drive and power an electric vehicle – that’s information I’ve never heard before, and I was blown away. It seemed like John Kerry was blown away too. He went around afterward, talking with students in the lab, asking what they were working on, and thanking them for their contributions.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

March 8, 2022: The Littlefield Center, home to Stanford Continuing Studies, Stanford Live, and Office of the Vice President for the Arts.

“I drove by this spot all the time and it was just this twiggy rock garden with trees that were never in bloom. One day, I looked over and it was in full bloom. Depending on the season, there’s a completely different expression. Certain places light up in one month and then they’re different in another. All these natural little treasures pop up all the time, even in winter. That’s the beauty of Stanford’s campus. The gardeners have done a fantastic job of creating so many spaces for reflection and socializing.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

April 7, 2022: The Claw.

“I was driving back from an assignment in my golf cart during one of the hottest days of summer when I noticed students in their bathing suits swimming in the fountain. I pulled over for a split second, just watching as people played and greeted their friends as it turned into this community thing. Everyone started hopping in the fountain, having fun. After snapping the shot, I started looking and realized there was more and more interaction between the foreground, middle ground, and background. It reminded me of a painting with all kinds of human expression.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

April 21, 2022: Former U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a keynote speech on the threat of disinformation.

“I had one angle from which I could shoot, so I was trying to be respectful, and not block anyone’s view when I got onto the side stage. There were all these distractions from Secret Service and security, but I realized there was one light shining on the wall behind him. I got all the way down, pretty much lying on the ground, to shoot up toward and create the perfect highlight behind his head. It helped create a center focus with fewer distractions to balance this frame. The shot of him ‘holding the football,’ as I like to say it, was the moment where everything fell into place. With a lot of my photography, I like to simplify the composition and remove distractions so you understand exactly what to look at when you see the image. With this one, I wanted to figure out how to shoot him in a perspective that wasn’t similar to every other image you’ve seen of him.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

May 12, 2022: Helena Zhang, ’22, a human biology major, works on a personal project in the McMurtry Building, home to the department of art & art history.

“I went to art school, and I actually have a minor in printmaking. It was refreshing to be back in a space where I felt comfortable alongside others with similar interests. Usually, artist studios are frenetic, crazy, messy. I liked the natural window lighting in the back, all the easels, and artwork from other students.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

May 20, 2022: Dollie Splash.

“With the band, I have no clue what they’re gonna do. There’s a lot of jumping, moving around, dancing, all types of things. It’s chaotic. But in those moments of chaos, I try to find interactions or a certain musician that’s giving a lot of energy. I just stop, pay attention for a little bit, and wait for a moment to happen.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

May 27, 2022: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to students during an event hosted by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

“When I first got there, there were some technical difficulties with the connection between Ukraine and Stanford. So when the Zoom finally popped on, everybody in the auditorium stood up and applauded President Zelenskyy. That’s when I took this shot.

For the first half of the conversation, he was speaking in Ukrainian and there was a lag between what he said and the translator expressing it in English. It made for this delay in conversation between him and the students. After a while, he asked, ‘Do you mind if I speak in English?’ He started speaking in English and it was impeccable. He was so funny and witty. He really connected with all the students.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

June 6, 2022: Mary Cooper, ’22, a varsity rower studying aerospace engineering and computer science, in her dorm room.

“When I first met Mary, I found out she was born in the same city as I was: Savannah, Georgia. She grew up in a military family, so they were moving around a bunch. So we automatically had a connection. Having that kind of mutual understanding was really nice.

The day we were photographing her for her senior profile, we stopped by her room so she could grab something. I asked her, ‘Would it be okay if I shot a portrait of you here? I think it would be interesting to do something a little bit different.’ And she was super willing. She showed me some of her prosthetic legs and the different prototypes that had been made for her. Each one is for a specific activity, like running or rowing, and there were some that had been decommissioned.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

June 30, 2022: A clean room in the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility.

“When you go into a clean room, you put on a Tyvek suit, hairnet, gloves, booties, all types of things. Then you walk into an area and they blast you with air. They’re really trying to minimize dust because a lot of the chips they’re working on are nano-size. You can hardly see them. So one dust particle could destroy a whole circuit board. That was my favorite part of this suit: dressing up and being able to get the full experience of the space.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

July 12, 2022: Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander, co-director of the Asian American Art Initiative at the Cantor Arts Center, with The Faces of Ruth Asawa, an exhibition she helped find a permanent home for at Stanford.

“I shot this exhibition from start to finish, from the artwork’s arrival, to preservation, to final installment. At the very end of it, I was shooting Aleesa, and she said, ‘I want to take one picture where I’m mimicking the mask.’ So she stood there, closed her eyes, took a moment to reflect, and I took one shot. She has a sea of faces right behind her that are doing the same thing as her. It felt like a moment of thanking the art and also being one with it.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

July 21, 2022: Surveying tidal pools at Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, now part of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability.

“On the backside of Hopkins Marine Station, there’s a marine sanctuary where no one is allowed to go; it’s only set up for researchers. I had the opportunity to follow a class conducting fieldwork there. I was in awe of how diverse and abundant the ecosystem was. You go to so many California beaches and there’s not a lot left. Here, there’s abalone on rocks, so many animals, mussels stacked up so high – it showed me that if you don’t get in the way of nature, it can thrive. I had so much fun stepping in the tidal pools and talking to biologists, all while hanging out in my favorite place: the beach.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

Aug. 3, 2022: Hopkins Marine Station isn’t your ordinary classroom. Flippered staff and students can walk into the waves from Agassiz Beach to snorkel or scuba dive through an underwater kelp forest, a hallmark ecosystem of the California coast.

“I was in the kelp forest trying to shoot in the marine sanctuary, swimming with a few other people, having fun. The visibility was terrible. I couldn’t see anything. I was trying to get these shots and they just weren’t working.

All of a sudden I feel this tugging on my foot – an aggressive tug. I’m like, ‘What is going on?’ I throw my camera in the water with my underwater housing, snap a picture, and there’s a harbor seal latched onto my fin. He was just scratching his face with it. That was the only picture I have of the seal interacting with me. It was a moment where I was like, ‘Am I getting attacked by a shark? No, there’s a seal attached to my foot. This is crazy.’ ”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

Sept. 12, 2022: Professor Chris Field, director of the Woods Institute for the Environment at the new Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, clean off research instruments at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve.

“When we met Chris for the first time, he showed up on this converted electric mountain bike that he put together. He was excited to talk about how he put the bike together, how efficient it is, and how it’s his main mode of transportation ripping around Jasper Ridge. Every day he goes up there and uses the water bottle from his mountain bike to spray off the heads of these instruments to clear them of debris.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

Sept. 20, 2022: Stanford students rehearse for the North American premiere of Leviathan in Roble Arts Gym under the watchful eye of Aleta Hayes, lecturer in the Department of Theater and Performance Studies.

“I thought this was a cool moment to showcase – the cast rehearsing in Roble Gym, the choreographer, the director, and the performers stacked up on top of each other. A lot of people think of Stanford as being science-focused, but there are so many creative outlets across campus.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

Oct. 4, 2022: Midday commute.

“Campus can go from being completely quiet to chaos. This moment caught my eye because the one student is navigating this crazy situation trying to get to class. It’s like human Frogger. You know, it’s haywire, but it’s also kinda peaceful at the same time.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

Oct. 5, 2022: Professor Carolyn Bertozzi is interviewed by University Communications staff after winning the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

“Working with Carolyn, she was so calm, collected, and level-headed. We were with her from the early morning hours, like 3 a.m., and we kept finding out more and more about her. She even played in a band with Tom Morello before he was a guitarist with Rage Against the Machine.

She’s not only the founder of a groundbreaking research field, but she’s also a musician and a creative person in another realm. And she was crushing the interviews – not taking herself too seriously, and having fun as the newest Nobel laureate.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

Nov. 8, 2022: Merry (M) Seng Maran, ’25, on election day. Maran, born in Yangon, Myanmar, has recently been granted U.S. citizenship and was eager to exercise her civic responsibilities.

“I brought Merry over to Bing Auditorium and knocked on the glass to ask if I could shoot a portrait inside. I was looking for a space that was kind of vacant, with strong structural elements. I wanted the image to fit the solemnity and gravity of the moment.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

Nov. 14, 2022: Terman Fountain.

“I was given the assignment of photographing 10 spots on campus to unwind. When I arrived here, I was blown away by the changing colors of the leaves and the golden light coming through. It wasn’t so much about the fountain in the background, but having these benches that allow for reflection. Stanford is always changing and the spaces have so many different expressions and moods. Any place you go, if you just stop and look around, you’ll find real beauty.”

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

Nov. 30, 2022: Professor Elizabeth Miller in her office in Geo Corner.

“I spent the day talking to Elizabeth about her research and her legacy. All the maps she was showing me were hand drafted by her and her students. They were beautiful. The quality of the line work was fantastic. She had map after map after map showing different sediment, sediment changes over certain areas, minerals that were compounded there. It was just fun to go into this eclectic room and hang out with such a down-to-earth person.”