December 20, 2018
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: Yemen Starvation Photos, Gaza Slingshot, Black Lives Matter Kid in a Tree

Welcome to a special edition of Chatting the Pictures focusing on key photos from the year.

By Michael Shaw
About the Video

Chatting the Pictures is a weekly, micro-edition of the Reading the Pictures Salon. In each 20-minute webcast, co-hosts Michael Shaw, publisher of Reading the Pictures, and writer and historian, Cara Finnegan, discuss three prominent photos in the news. The program is broken into three segments: “The News,” “The Look,” and “The Pick.” “The News” examine a hard news image for its content value. “The Look” focuses on a news photo for its artistry and style. And “The Pick” asks what made a high profile photo so unique to editors or the public.

“The News” photo this week was taken by Lorenzo Tugnoli for The Washington Post. The picture raises the subject of starvation photos, the difficulty looking at them, and when they are most effective. In this case, the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudis led to the US media focusing a critical lens on that country’s war in Yemen and the starvation of its people. America has been abetting that effort. The starvation photos have only heightened political will in the US to curtail this involvement.

For “The Look,” we discuss a photo by Mustafa Hassona of the Anadolu Agency, distributed by Getty. It shows a Palestinian–protesting the naval blockade of Gaza–firing a rock at Israeli troops with a slingshot. Likened to David and Goliath or a famous French painting, Liberty Leading the People, we discuss this viral photo and its popularity versus its content value.

“The Pick” this week features a photo by Daniel Arnold for TIME. It depicts a woman handing a Black Lives Matter sign back to a young boy during a protest against white nationalist in Washington D.C.’s Lafayette Square. We discuss how the photo contains the echo of lynching photos and how much it transcends that history.

You can find all the Chatting the Pictures replays here.

The Full Edit

Take a closer look at some of the images from our larger photo edit.

Photo by Lorenzo Tugnoli/For The Washington Post.

Caption: Ayesha Ahmed, 3 years old, is severely malnourished and only weights 4.2kg. Her family was recently displaced due to the ongoing offensive in the western cost of Yemen. A lot of fighting happened in their village, Tahonan, located on the border of Hodeida and Taiz. The nurses are taking care of Ayesha but there are no doctors in the hospital, in Aden, Yemen, on May 15, 2018.

PhotoTyler Hicks/The New York Times.

CaptionAmal Hussain, who died at age 7. “My heart is broken,” her mother said.


Photo: Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency/Getty.

Caption: Palestinians burn tires and throw stones toward Israeli forces as they gather to support the maritime demonstration to break the Gaza sea blockade in Gaza City on October 22, 2018.

Photo: Daniel Arnold for TIME.

CaptionA woman hands a Black Lives Matter sign back to a young boy, who was readjusting his position in a tree, at Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 12. 2018

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Michael Shaw
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Michael Shaw

An analyst of news photos and visual journalism, and a frequent lecturer and writer on visual politics, photojournalism and media literacy, Michael is the founder and publisher of Reading the Pictures.

Cara Finnegan

Communication Professor, University of Illinois. Author of Making Photography Matter: A Viewer’s History from the Civil War to the Great Depression and Picturing Poverty: Print Culture and FSA Photographs. Moderator, Reading the Pictures Salon.


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