Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
May 1, 2006

Taking A Simple Notice


(click image for the better view)

A rally is a rally is a rally, yes?

On first pass, the images from yesterday’s Darfur assembly in Washington seem like any other.  Closer attention, however, reveals much poetry.  For example, I like this outstretched, unembodied hand (suggestive of an anonymous tragedy), and the illusion it actually touches two others — one the gathering, impassioned hand of another brown-sleeved, brown man.

If you survey the visuals overall, one feature is somewhat peculiar for such an event.  The most repeated element (if you can get past George Clooney) was this rally notice.  In most captions, it is referred to as “a sign.”  It is technically not, though.  It is the event flier.

But, why would this simple flier predominate?  Why would so many be drawn to bring, impress, and almost be physically bound by this piece of paper?

Perhaps it reflects how desperately rare the congregation was, and yet, how essential.  In that vein ….

… It strikes the only two words that really matter.

… It offers complete unanimity.

… It confirms: ‘You asked me to bear witness, and I am here.’

(image: Saul McSween -AFP/Getty.  April 30, 2006.  Washington, D.C. via

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