Midnight on January 1, 2021, was unlike any other in recent history. To document the passing of time after a year when time itself seemed both fleeting and endless, the Cut asked photographers around the world to capture their intimate, unforgettable celebrations.
Photographer Melissa Alcena, 32, spent New Year’s Eve at her 63-year-old mother’s house in the Bahamas, where she’s from, and where she takes portraits of Bahamians in their everyday environments. “It was lovely,” Alcena said of her night. “[My mother and I] are very close, but our relationship has definitely deepened this year.” This was the first time they’d spent the holiday together in a long time, and it was just the two of them, plus their two dogs, or “fur children” as they call them, Stoli (like the vodka) and Charlie, a new rescue.
“After such an intense year, I think we were really craving more low-key celebrations in the comfort and safety of our own space,” Alcena continued. “It was a day filled with home improvement shows, snacking, and deep conversation. I managed to find two New Year’s Eve headbands and a cake sparkler the day before, and towards the end of the night, we put them on, lit up the sparkler, and had our own little celebration.”