December 4, 2017

Reading the Pictures Is More Essential Than Ever: Support Us


Almost a decade-and-a-half since we began, our role has never been more important. The world is vastly more visual, commercial and polarized. The media landscape is chaotic. Power shapes and mediates imagery like never before. We apply understanding, context and best practices to the prominent pictures of the day. With “visual literacy” as our goal, we do this daily on multiple sites and platforms, studying significant media and social media images for information, context, subtext, technique and acquisition, and well as agendas and stereotypes. Through our Salon webcasts, we engage expert panels of photo professionals and visual scholars to analyze major visual news stories and issues of the times.

We’ve produced a lot with limited resources. In 2017:

• Our visual analysis for Columbia Journalism Review was among that publication’s most popular content.

• Our conversation with Pete Souza at the Photoville festival in Brooklyn (above) kicked off the former White House photographer’s national book tour.

• We won the Eugene Smith Memorial Fund’s Howard Chapnick Grant, the highest honor for non-photographers advancing the mission of photojournalism.

• We began working with Quartz Media to develop new ways of analyzing news photography.

• We have branched into more diverse imagery on our growing Instagram feed.

• Our contributor ranks are growing, as is the demand for our content in colleges and universities.

• Our site is now built-out for mobile.

In order to operate and grow Reading the Pictures, we need your support. For years, we have sustained ourselves on small, private donations and a small flow of ad revenue. We need funding to sustain and develop our content across multiple platforms. Our unique Salon webcasts require skilled photo research, photo editing, and video production.

Because of our non-profit status, your donation to Reading the Pictures is fully tax-deductible, and deeply important. We urge you to support our unique role as a think tank for visual culture, a “live classroom” for visual literacy, and a vigorous advocate for effective news and concerned photography. See the easy donation form below to contribute what you can.

Reading the Pictures is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3). You can click here to make a tax-deductible donation or go to the lower far right of this page.

Or, you can mail us at: Reading the Pictures/2705 Webster St. Ste. 5543/Berkeley, CA  94705.

As part of our fund drive this month, we will have special content for you on the site. We have two posts by visual scholars analyzing those fake Facebook ads; new Trump GIFs from artist Nancy Burson; Christa Olson on Puerto Rico and “cruel looking”; Rebecca Adelman on recent portraits from Sudan, and more.

We want to thank each and every one of you for engaging with us and sustaining us. In these adverse times, we are proud of our role in the media dialogue and determined about our future.

Photo: Meg Handler Caption: Reading the Pictures publisher, Michael Shaw speaks with former White House photographer, Pete Souza, at Photoville, September 16, 2017, in Brooklyn, New York.

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Michael Shaw
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