Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
January 5, 2015

A Year of Looking at News Photos

It would be hard to fault even the most ardent Bag reader for missing even our best work in a given year. There is so much great content out there spanning so many important topics, and only so much time. On the other hand, nobody else on the web does what we do — at least not with the breadth, consistency and singularity. In our news and social media-saturated world, news photos are used, confused and sometimes abused to entertain as well as inform, to persuade or sell as well as illustrate.

In 2014, Bag’s tenth year, the breadth of our mission crystallized into three distinct offering, BagNewsNotes, our news- and documentary photo-reading section; our online discussion series, the BagNewsSalon, analyzing visual media’s depiction of the major stories of the day; and BagNews Originals, publishing original photography accompanied by the words of the photographer describing his or her process. As the mainstay of the Bag, the Notes section — with an increasing number of authors joining me — seemed to finally arrive and settle on four concerns: photo forensics and investigative journalism; photo reviews and critique; photo analysis; and visual politics — our emphasis still overwhelmingly concerned with the individual image.

I appreciate what we offer you below in this stem-to-stern tour of our best work is still a lot of material. If you missed some or many of these entries though, especially in areas more to your taste, here are the pieces that rocked the photo sphere, or at least, kept visual media honest; made us all look deeper and longer at worthy images in our otherwise one-click-and-out visual culture;  helped us appreciate how much critical reading we can do with our eyes; and otherwise honored and took joy in the profession.

As always, thank you for sharing the mission with us.

Photo Forensics and Investigative Journalism

David Frum Accuses NYT and Reuters of Staging Gaza Hospital Photos (GRAPHIC)

Missing the Big Picture: How Cecily McMillan, Convicted of Assault, Was Violently Assaulted by NYPD at M17 Occupy Protest

The Dysfunctional Guitar: More on the Reuters Syria Photo Controversy

On that 26-Year-Old “Putin” – Reagan Photo in Moscow

More Questions Over Ethics: Is Reuters Enabling ISIL and are they Working with Sympathizers Again?

Photo Reviews and Critique


Between an Electrifying World Cup and Bodies on the Ground: Mario Tama in Brazil

Art Photography vs. News Photography: Politico, Race and the “Other Washington”


Im-Migrant Mother

Wage Slaves and Fatal Naps

7 Reasons Why Donald Weber’s Kiev Molotov Cocktail Portraits are That Effective

Looking Back on ‘14 With Compassion and Depth

Photo Analysis

What That Picture From Michael Brown’s Funeral Does That Few Photos Ever Do

20 Years of Ebola, and How Photography Has Changed

Downward Like a Lightning Bolt: 18 Visual Scholars Reflect on Previously Unseen JFK Assassination Photographs – #1

Visual Politics

The Beauty of LA Burning (Robert Hariman)

Glory as a Stage Show: On Mark Peterson’s Vegas Megachurch Photos (Philip Perdue)

The Focus on Janay Rice: The Pictures are Powerful, but Why are They Necessary? (Karrin Anderson)

The BagNews Salon


The Visual Framing of Kiev and the Battle for Independence Square
(with unique highlight clips by Sandra Roa).

BagNewsOriginals – Original Photojournalism

Stacy Kranitz: The Rape of Appalachia

Ode to Light: Making Street Photography in a Cynical Age — by Amy Touchette

Sarah Stacke: Love From Manenberg

David Degner from Cairo: On the Sissi Election and Egypt Under the Boot

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