Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
December 30, 2016

Reading the Pictures: Best Posts of 2016

Enjoy our best posts of 2016….

Alabama state troopers bar Dr. Martin Luther King from the state capitol.


MLK: March 25, 1965
Photo: AP
What makes the MLK photo seem so immediate and contemporary is how much it feels like a selfie. For a news photo, it’s unusually intimate even now.

Siblings Julie, Antonio, and India Abram collect their daily allowance of bottled water from Fire Station #3. Located on Martin Luther King Avenue, it is one of five firehouses that have become water resource sites in Flint, Michigan.


On that Startling Flint Photo of 3 African-American Kids Toting Water

Photo: Wayne Lawrence
Showing kids who could, if not for the skin color, be coming home to Park Avenue from private schools brings home how universal the need for water is.

The Freedom Girls perform at a Donald Trump Rally in Florida


Watch the Reading the Pictures Salon: A Look at Early Campaign ’16
Through the early primaries, Campaign ‘16 has been one of the strangest presidential races ever. Our expert salon panel analyzes key photos of the process.


The Brussels Attack: Between Two Cell Phone Photos of the Same Scene
Photo:Ketevan Kardava—Georgian Public Broadcaster/AP
What stood out from Monday’s terror attack in Brussels is how two slightly different cell phone photos became defining images of the event.

Pastor Joshua Nink prays for Donald Trump at First Christian Church in Council Bluffs, Iowa. (Jae C. Hong/Associated Press)


K.C. McGinnis: Thank You Jesus For Lord President Trump

Photo: Jae C. Hong/Associated Press
To observe the true disconnect between Trump and evangelicals, illustrations are not hard to find.


Christa Olson-Abortion and Breastfeeding: Both Part of the Ordinary Life of Ordinary Women

Photo: Alice Proujansky
Reviewing these photographs while feeding my own newborn, I am reminded that reproductive rights are a crucial part of women balancing work and family.


Steve McCurry’s Rickshaw
Photo: Steve McCurry
If Steve McCurry’s aesthetic and the doctoring to achieve it deserves the criticism, I’m wondering what is positive and worthy for us to learn from it.

June has taken up the responsibility of helping to feed the small gathering that congregates in front of the Triple S Food Mart to pay their respects and grieve over the death of Alton Sterling. Baton Rouge, La. photo: Ruddy Roye for TIME via Instagram.

Baton Rouge: Channeling the Fire with Amazing Grace

Photo: Ruddy Roye
Mindful of the smoldering racial and political atmosphere in the country right now, the photo’s symbolism reaches beyond a single instance of goodwill.

photo: Pete Souza. caption: President Obama watches a virtual reality film captured during his trip to Yosemite National Park earlier this year.

On that Crazy Pete Souza Obama VR Shot
Photo:Pete Souza
If, a few years ago, someone told us this picture celebrated the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service…. mind blown!

Photo: Meridith Kohut / New York Times. caption: Leidy Cordova, 37, with four of her five children at their home in Cumaná, Venezuela, last week. Their broken refrigerator held the only food in the house: a bag of corn flour and a bottle of vinegar.

Christa Olson-The Visual Politics of Empty Shelves 
Photo: Meridith Kohut / New York Times
Photographs of bare stores and starving families fit too neatly into “us and them,” imagining whole political systems as economically and morally bankrupt.



Nancy Burson’s What If Trump Were: Black-Asian-Hispanic-Middle Eastern-Indian

This animated GIF was created by artist Nancy Burson to consider how Donald Trump’s mind works and to stir reflection from the mogul’s malignant soul.

Citizen at Trump rally holds sign reading "Deplorable Lives Matter." credit: Deplorable AJ /Twitter via USA Today

What’s Not Deplorable About “Deplorable Lives Matter”

Photo: Deplorable AJ  via USA Today 
OK, Trump supporters are sporting the deplorable phrase out of spite. But, what about the truth underlying all defensive gestures?

Protestors voiced frustrations to armored CMPD officers as they stand on Old Concord Road. Logan Cyrus/Charlotte Magazine


News Photos of Police Protests: More Profiling of Black Males
Photo: Logan Cyrus/Charlotte Magazine
What we’re seeing in these photo galleries is a replay of the stereotype associating young black men with criminal and savages.

A young boy watches helicopters carrying politicians to the worst hit areas land in Roche-a-Bateau, southwestern Haiti, on Oct. 8, 2016 following Hurricane Matthew. Andrew McConnell—Panos

Haiti, Matthew and the Limits of Attention

Photo: Andrew McConnell—Panos
What makes one event the intense focus of “name photojournalists” and visual media while others are largely ignored?


On Trump, the Rally Mob and the Terrorizing of Journalists
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Trump’s blaming and bullying actually causes us to fear for the safety of the writers and photographers covering the last days of this pyrrhic campaign.

Screenshot. November 18, 2016 - Donald Trump " Objectified " FULL Personality Profile with TMZ Harvey Levin - Fox News.

Trump’s Office Shrine: The Magazine Table, FOX Interview & Self-Obsession
The segment of the FOX Trump interview proves so telling, it could be mistaken for a behavioral experiment.

Photo: Daniel StierDecember

Reading the Pictures Salon — How Science is Pictured in the Media and Public Culture: A Joint Reading the Pictures/Seeing Science (UMBC) Salon
Photo: Daniel Stier
This joint Reading the Pictures/Seeing Science/UMBC Salon is interested in science as a social agenda and how science images are being portrayed in visual culture.

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