Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
October 19, 2014

Hong Kong: The Umbrella As State-of-Mind

On the ground, I’m sure it’s just crackdown-as-usual.  As a photo however, this image packs an almost iconic punch. As the signature of a movement enduring dismemberment , the umbrella ceases to be just one more umbrella, just as the wire cutters cease to be just a tool. What we have instead is the state, in a blunt force way, trying to amputation a movement.

What the first photo doesn’t say that this second one reminds us of, however, is that it’s not quite as easy as that.  Instead, as the poster emphasizes, the movement is as much a state of mind.

(photo 1: Kin Cheung/Associated Press. caption: Police officers remove an umbrella fixed to barriers that protesters set up to block off main roads in the Central district of Hong Kong on Tuesday. photo 2: Chris McGrath/Getty Images. caption 2: Pro-democracy protesters sleep on the street outside Hong Kong’s Government complex on October 6, 2014)

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