Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
December 13, 2018

Chatting the Pictures: Yellow Vest Uprising; Through the Border Wall; Oval Office Showdown

Welcome to the latest edition of Chatting the Pictures, 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 Stephane Mahe for Reuters. This widely-published image depicts the Yellow Vest uprising in Paris. Highlighting a mass demonstration in the Place de la République, the square named after the French Revolution anchored by a statue of a figure that personifies France, it captures the protests in a larger, more symbolic way. 

For “The Look,” we discuss a photo by Alkis Konstantinidis, also for Reuters. It shows migrants from Honduras walking towards U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials to request asylum. The photo, with the aid of the caption, is distinctive for telling a story in an almost cinematic way. At the same time, it refutes the idea that migrants are trying to game the U.S. immigration system. In fact, it demonstrates how they are trying to honor it.

“The Pick” this week features a photo from Michael Reynolds for Bloomberg. It captures the wild televised encounter that took place this week in the Oval Office between President Donald Trump and the Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Except for this version, published in The New Yorker, is much different than most of the other photos taken by the White House press corps. Given the unique angle, the picture has a lot to say about gender, Trump, and the political shift in the country following the dramatic mid-term elections.

You can find all the Chatting the Pictures replays here.


Photo: Stephane Mahe/REUTERS Caption: A view of the Place de la Republique as protesters wearing yellow vests gather during a national day of protest by the yellow vests movement in Paris, France. 

Photo: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters Caption: Migrants from Honduras walk towards U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials (not pictured) in San Diego County, after crossing illegally from Mexico to the U.S. by jumping a border fence, photographed through the border wall in Tijuana, Mexico, December 2, 2018.


Photo: Michael Reynolds / Bloomberg / Getty Caption: President Donald Trump and the Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer sat down for a lively photo op and conversation in the Oval Office on Tuesday, December 11, 2018.

  • Panelists
  • 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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