Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
October 14, 2014

A Simple News Photo from Hong Kong Calls out the Economics

When we look at protest photos in the news stream, what we mostly see are scenes of the citizen versus the militarized state. That’s why this news photo from the democracy uprising in Hong Kong is noteworthy.

In this age of Citizens United, oligarchy, marauding socialist market economies and free markets aligned with the value of “all-for-one,” when do you ever see a protest photo that captures and illustrates the enterprise system itself — as opposed to the crackdown in the streets in defense of that system?

To the extent that the battle for political and economic justice is tough to render when it comes to news photography, the government headquarters building in Hong Kong (which, no surprise, is indistinguishable from the office tower) actually serves as a consolidated and monumental counterpoint to the colorful “umbrella revolution” (all those umbrellas manufactured in China, by the way).

Shades of the government as an industrial monolith, this is a worthy attempt to frame the individual against not just the political but the economic state.

(photo: Carlos Barria / Reuters. caption: A yellow umbrella, a symbol of what has been dubbed the ‘Umbrella Revolution’, is seen in front of the government headquarters building in Hong Kong.)

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