Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
December 6, 2017

7 Takes on TIME’s “Person of the Year” Silence Breakers Cover

My takes on the powerful and thoroughly timely TIME “Person of the Year” “The Silence Breakers” cover:

• If you didn’t read the backstory, you might not know the photo is a composite. What a powerful illustration of how often victims can be that close and never know.

• As powerful is the fact the story was 100% woman made. (TIME earns a real demerit, though, for using a couple team, instead of a woman photographer. If there was ever an assignment….)

• So in effect, and above his protest, Trump did make the POY cover. All the perps made it.

• Knowing everyone has their own associations, the black velvet jackets partly reminded me of robes. I went two places with that: a pushback to predator tactics (you saw that brilliant “Team Weinstein” New Yorker cover, right?), and what judges wear.

• A crucial credit to “Isabel Pascual” or “42Strawberry picker,” depicted far left. The farm worker appears under a pseudonym.  At the same time, her appearance is still one more launching-off point to discuss the demographics of abuse, woman’s credibility, race and SES (in the portrait and beyond). Specifically, the cover validates the unfortunate ratio between the impact and credibility of an accuser, and her or his power and fame.

• Of course, the most important figure is #6 front, far right — every #MeToo (and not necessarily straight, female or male).

• Lastly, what a pushback to the Koch Brothers-backed sale of TIME a few weeks ago. A parting shot, dare we see anything like it from them again?

— Michael Shaw

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Photo: Billy & Hells for TIME. Caption: Clockwise from top: Ashley Judd, Susan Fowler, Taylor Swift, Anonymous, Adama Iwu, and Isabel Pascual*

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