Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
December 29, 2017

Our 14 Best Posts of 2017

We don’t have to tell you 2017 was an urgent and dizzying year for news and news imagery. Although Trump’s first year in office was like media fly paper, so many stories were critical. The list below spans the year’s critical themes: feminism and sexual assault; racial dissension and hate; fires, floods, and the ravages of climate change; the ongoing migrant and immigration crisis; gun violence. Between our publisher, Michael Shaw, and our brilliant contributors, including Rebecca Adelman, Wendy Kozol, Christa Olson and Marta Zarzycka, these 14 posts represent our best of 2017.

Post the traditional inaugural tea and coffee reception, President-elect Donald Trump looks out of the Red Room window onto the South Portico of the White House grounds on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, prior to departing the White House for the Presidential Inaugural ceremony. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

1. Reading the Trump “First 50 Days” Photo Album (Michael Shaw)

If anything, the photo album brings Trump’s guardedness, and the quality and amount of White House visual disclosure into greater relief.

A palm tree is engulfed in smoke as the Tubbs fire tears through the Journey's End mobile home on Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie, The Chronicle

2. Has Climate Change Killed the California Dream?  (Michael Shaw)

California is used to the edge. With the multi-year drought and now these firestorms, however, I’m wondering if climate change has tipped the scale.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images. Caption: CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – AUGUST 12: White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the ‘alt-right’ exchange insluts with counter-protesters as they attempt to guard the entrance to Emancipation Park during the ‘Unite the Right’ rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Emancipation Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

3. Charlottesville and Trump: Our Social Media Roundup  (Michael Shaw)

A striking collection of imagery, this roundup is dedicated to the brazen white supremacist march in Charlottesville, and Trump’s fanning of those flames.

Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images Caption: Colin Kaepernick may forever be known as the quarterback who knelt for the national anthem before N.F.L. games in 2016 as a protest against social injustice.

4. The Visual Politics of Colin Kaepernick (Michael Shaw)

Given Donald Trump’s ugly campaign against athletes who “take a knee,” it seemed time for a closer look at the man who started it.

Women's March on Washington. 1/21/17. Photo: Kevin Banatte, afroCHuBBZ

5. White Privilege and the Pussy Hat (Wendy Kozol)

Gender advocacy needs to reckon with the racism built into the fabric of feminist movements.

Vehicles sit amid leaked fuel mixed in with floodwaters in the parking lot of Motiva Enterprises LLC in Port Arthur.<br /> REUTERS/Adrees Latif

6. Monster Hurricanes and Eco-Disaster Photos: The Indecisive Moment (Marta Zarzycka)

These photos allow us to take account of the slow consequences of Harvey and Irma. The fact they defy closure is the whole point.

Donald Trump Jr. arrives at Trump Tower in New York City, U.S. January 18, 2017. Stephanie Keith/Reuters

7. On that Creepy Don Jr. Elevator Photo (Michael Shaw)

The photo can be seen as a premonition. It mirrors the surreptitiousness of the Russia meeting and the fact Don Jr. isn’t so swaggery anymore.

8. Cruel Looking: From Puerto Rico, and Beyond (Christa Olson)

Showing the bodies of others and stripping them of dignity in full view: this is cruel looking. Knowing it is wrong is part of the plan.

From left: Donna Gigliotti, Harvey Weinstein, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Edward Zwick with their Oscars for "Shakespeare In Love" in 1999, AP Photo/Dave Caulkin

 9. Compounding the Weinstein Outrage: How to Visually Cover Sexual Assault (Marta Zarzycka)

Lurid details and graphic accounts in the Weinstein case do not compensate for one simple fact: there is no adequate imagery to testify to sexual assault.

10. Watch Nancy Burson’s Latest GIF Morphing Trump With “Rocket Man” (Michael Shaw)

These images are about Trump’s identification with the world’s greatest. In the Kim animation, you have the ultimate Rocket Man. And in both the Kim and the Putin morph, you have the ultimate collusion.

US First Lady Melania Trump's ring is viewed during the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House April 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski

11. What’s in an Easter Egg Roll? The Trumps Unguarded (Michael Shaw)

Seeing Trump and his family in a personal setting is extraordinarily rare. Photographers haven’t had this kind of prolonged access to him since the inauguration.

Rohingya Muslims, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, carry an elderly woman in a basket and walk towards a refugee camp in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. Nearly three weeks into a mass exodus of (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

12. On that Rohingya Woman in a Basket (Rebecca Adelman)

In another instance, a woman fit into a too-small basket might be a visual joke. In this case though, carrying something is a larger communicative act.

New York City Immigration activists protesting the Trump administration’s decision on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals are arrested by New York City Police (NYPD) officers after they sat in the street and blocked traffic on Fifth Avenue near Trump Tower, Sept. 5, 2017. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

 13. The Dreamers and the Pictures: Rising Above (Michael Shaw)

The Dreamers’ legitimacy was obvious in the reaction to Trump’s refusal to make them legal. It is also echoing through the news photography.

Mike Blake/Reuters. Caption: Air Force One departs Las Vegas past the broken windows on the Mandalay Bay hotel, where shooter Stephen Paddock conducted his mass shooting along the Las Vegas Strip.


14. On that Photo of Air Force One Passing the Scene of the Vegas Massacre (Michael Shaw)

Capturing Air Force One and the stricken Mandalay Hotel in the same frame demands the consideration of one in terms of the other.

***

Reading the Pictures is asking for your support. We are the rare organization promoting visual literacy and media literacy at a time when both remain rare and essential. Help sustain our role as vigorous advocates for effective news and concerned photography with a tax-deductible donation here, or at the bottom of the post. Thanks so much, and We wish all of you a thoughtful and visual 2018!

Photo 1: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead Caption: Post the traditional inaugural tea and coffee reception, President-elect Donald Trump looks out of the Red Room window onto the South Portico of the White House grounds on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, prior to departing the White House for the Presidential Inaugural ceremony; Photo 2 :Gabrielle Lurie, The Chronicle. Caption: A palm tree is engulfed in smoke as the Tubbs fire tears through the Journey’s End mobile home on Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017; Photo 3: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images. Caption: Charlottesville, VA– AUGUST 12: White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the ‘alt-right’ exchange insults with counter-protesters as they attempt to guard the entrance to Emancipation Park during the ‘Unite the Right’ rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Emancipation Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed. Photo 4: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images Caption: Colin Kaepernick may forever be known as the quarterback who knelt for the national anthem before N.F.L. games in 2016 as a protest against social injustice; Photo 5: Kevin Banatte, afroCHuBBZ Caption: Women’s March on Washington. 1/21/17; Photo 6: Adrees Latif/Reuters Caption: Vehicles sit amid leaked fuel mixed in with floodwaters in the parking lot of Motiva Enterprises LLC in Port Arthur, Texas;  Photo 7: Stephanie Keith/Reuters Caption: Donald Trump Jr. arrives at Trump Tower in New York City, U.S. January 18, 2017; Photo 8a: Museum of the Old Colony/Pablo Delano Caption: A ‘Banana Special’ en Route for Barranquitas.” Sourced from National Geographic, 1924, from the article, “Porto Rico, the Gate of Riches.” ;  Photo 8b: Evan Vucci/AP Caption: President Donald Trump tosses paper towels into a crowd as he hands out supplies at Calvary Chapel on October 3, 2017, in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Photo 9:  AP Photo/Dave Caulkin Caption:  From left: Donna Gigliotti, Harvey Weinstein, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Edward Zwick with their Oscars for “Shakespeare In Love” in 1999; Photo 10: Nancy Burson. Editing by John Depew, @johndepew. Warhead 2017 (Trump-Jong un)   Photo 11: Brendan Smialowski/ AFP. Caption: US First Lady Melania Trump’s ring is viewed during the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House April 17, 2017 in Washington, DC.; Photo 12: Dar Yasin/AP Caption:  Rohingya Muslims, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, carry an elderly woman in a basket and walk towards a refugee camp in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. Photo 13: Drew Angerer/Getty Images Caption:  New York City Immigration activists protesting the Trump administration’s decision on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals are arrested by New York City Police (NYPD) officers after they sat in the street and blocked traffic on Fifth Avenue near Trump Tower, Sept. 5, 2017. Photo 14: Mike Blake/Reuters Caption: Air Force One departs Las Vegas past the broken windows on the Mandalay Bay hotel, where shooter Stephen Paddock conducted his mass shooting along the Las Vegas Strip.

Comments Powered by Disqus

Refresh Archives

Random Notes