Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
October 22, 2018

What We’re Looking At: Hurricanes Michael and Khashoggi

For the past two weeks, visual news has been dominated by Hurricane Michael and the murder of Washington Post writer and Saudi citizen-in-exile, Jamal Khashoggi. Below are highlights of the photos and commentary we’ve published on social media on both stories.

Also some site news for you: On December 6th, we will host our next salon looking at the media’s framing of the border wall and the migrant crisis. This salon is funded by a grant from the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund and we’re thrilled to also announce the event will be co-produced with The Magnum Foundation. Stay tuned for more information as well as more exciting announcements from Reading the Pictures.

Photo: Eric Thayer/The New York Times. Damaged boats in a marina following Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Oct. 10, 2018. The National Hurricane Center forecast the storm’s path with great accuracy, but its sudden intensification as it approached land was harder to predict. Millions of residents were caught off guard as Michael escalated from a tropical storm to a major hurricane in just two days, leaving little time for preparations.

Eric Thayer’s photo from the morning after telegraphs how the horror is just beginning. After Hurricane Michael finally let up–a blow that seemed to come out of nowhere–the sign of daybreak also suggested a wall of flame.

A sign hangs on a tree in front of a house in Panama City, October 13. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

Photo: Terray Sylvester/Reuters. A sign hangs on a tree in front of a house in Panama City, October 13.

With Hurricane Michael fighting to stay in the news cycle, residents of the Panhandle sent out an SOS.

Lorrainda Smith sits with her 2-day-old son, Luke, on Oct. 15, 2018, as she contemplates with her husband, Wilmer Capps, right, sleeping in their truck in the parking lot of a Panama City, Fla., Walmart after their home was damaged from Hurricane Michael. (David Goldman/AP)

Photo: David Goldman/AP. Lorrainda Smith sits with her 2-day-old son, Luke, on Oct. 15, 2018, as she contemplates with her husband, Wilmer Capps, right, sleeping in their truck in the parking lot of a Panama City, Fla., Walmart after their home was damaged from Hurricane Michael.

Echoing images from the “Dust Bowl” or “The Great Depression,” this photo of the “Walmart Baby” or the “Child of the Storm”–born in a Panama City parking lot after Hurricane Michael–also reflects a widening schism between America’s “haves” and “have nots.”

CAPTION 1: A Turkish forensic expert is seen from a window as he works inside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, October 15, 2018. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan CAPTION 2: A forensic UV light is seen as Turkish police experts work inside a room of Consul General of Saudi Arabia Mohammad al-Otaibi at Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, October 15, 2018. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Photo 1: Kemal Aslan/Reuters. A Turkish forensic expert is seen from a window as he works inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, October 15, 2018.  Photo 2: Murad Sezer/Reuters. A forensic UV light is seen as Turkish police experts work inside a room of Consul General of Saudi Arabia Mohammad al-Otaibi at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, October 15, 2018.

Jamal Khashoggi was taped entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and that was all. After almost two weeks of news reports accompanied by photos of the building, seeing Turkish forensic investigators working through the windows upped the ante on this international wrong. Suddenly, the ability for Riyadh to dissemble or Washington to collude became a much steeper climb.

NYT uses elementary photo-illustrations to link Saudi Crown Prince with Khashoggi hit squad suspect. (Boiling it down to the simple: the official procedure these days.) <br /> Actually laying eyes on the Saudi consulate in Islamabad, and watching Turkish forensic experts work through the windows, ups ante on this international wrong. Steeper climb for Washington to collude and for Riyadh to frame as fake news.

Photo: Steve Gonzales/Houston Chronicle, via Associated Press

The President has been famous for using the simplest charts, graphs and photographs. The New York Times went the same route using elementary photo-illustrations to link the Saudi Crown Prince with one of the Khashoggi hit squad suspects.

President Donald Trump shows a chart highlighting arms sales to Saudi Arabia during a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House, March 20, 2018, in Washington. Evan Vucci/AP

Photo:Evan Vucci/AP. President Donald Trump shows a chart highlighting arms sales to Saudi Arabia during a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House, March 20, 2018, in Washington.

As the President came out in defense of bin Salman (and US defense dollars tied to weapons sales to the kingdom), this photo from March pretty much had it all: The fronting for the Prince; MBS’s White House free pass; the conflation of jobs, trade, and weaponry (including hardware fueling the Yemeni proxy war); the show-and-tell board; the dollar figures (well below figures Trump has been recently citing); and the lost memory of human rights.

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