Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
December 30, 2018

Our Top Instagram Posts of the Year

As we flip the page to 2019, we wanted to share our favorite posts from our Instagram feed this year. Because the times we are living in are so difficult, perhaps the word “favorite” is not exactly appropriate. Still, the visual reporting and the quality of imagery we encountered over the past twelve months was extremely high level and we were honored and proud to put words to many of them.

We’d also like to thank all our readers and followers who have provided powerful feedback and encouragement day in and day out. We have some exciting plans for the new year, so stick with us here and, especially, on social media. In the meantime, we wish you, the country, and Mother Earth our very best in 2019!

 

 

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It’s a painful photo and a heart-wrenching commentary on the use of children as political pawns. Here you see Wilder Hilario Maldonado entering court for a detention hearing in San Antonio on his own. He also has no legal representation. One of the kids separated from his family under the government’s “zero tolerance” policy, the 6-year-old Salvadoran was being held in federal custody at an immigration detention facility about an hour away. Luckily, a lawyer at the hearing volunteered to stand in for him. The photo and the backstory are from an article on zero tolerance by ProPublica. That he’s sandwiched in there with the bin and actually wearing two extra eyes makes it all the more sad. (-Michael Shaw)⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ On December 6th, we and the @MagnumFoundation, with the support of the @EugeneSmithFund Chapnick Grant, are co-producing the latest @ReadingThePictures salon. One of the themes we’re looking at is: #kidsandthewall. The online discussion with live audience chat will analyze how the Border Wall, family separation, and the “caravan” have been visually depicted in the media. (Please sign up and participate via the link in our bio.)⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Photo: Edward Ornelas for ProPublica. Cropped from the original. Story link: https://buff.ly/2FYpX10 #kidsandthewall #borderwallsalon #children #migrantchildren #caravan #immigration #zerotolerance #refugees #migrants #migration #politics #visualpolitics #photojournalism #humanrights #borders #refugees #elsalvador #involuntarydetention #court #immigrationcourt #civilrights #justice #courtsystem #propublica

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It’s not just because it’s beautiful. I’m re-posting this sumptuous photo from the NYT T Magazine because of the backstory, celebrating the significance of an arrangement combining weeds with “more respectable flowers.” You can read it below, but I’m fascinated with the statement that the inclusion of the weeds–and the recognition they are beautiful in their own right–actually represents a larger cultural moment. What an important instinct in 2018 America: the embrace of diversity, difference, the lowly, the unruly, the unwanted. More authentic, indeed. (-Michael Shaw)⠀ ⠀ Reposting @nytimes:⠀ …⠀ “A weed is, by definition, unwanted. “It’s a plant that we have deemed to have no value because it contributes nothing to our life,” @ligayamishan writes in @tmagazine. 🌿 But the weed’s time has come. Weeds are shacking up with more “respectable” flowers in grand floral arrangements and shaggy bouquets. The current obsession with these unruly plants speaks to a larger cultural moment. Something has shifted in “what we consider beautiful,” says Sophia Moreno-Bunge of @isaisafloral. “It’s the story of the intrepid underdog,” says @emilythompsonflowers. What a weed gives a floral arrangement. she says, is a sense of authenticity. 💐 @guido_castagnoli_studio took this photo while on assignment for @tmagazine. The floral arrangement is by @ruby_marylennox. The lamb, Lammy, was tempted. Visit the link in our profile to read about how the common weed has grown on florists — and chefs. #TMensIssue” ⠀ ⠀ #flowers #weeds #culture #authenticity #diversity #difference #unwanted #floral #flowerarrangements #style #culturalmoment #respect #authenticity

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Another mother and child from the same roundup near McAllen, Texas, that produced the viral photo of the crying girl. Both photos are by John Moore, who has made many of the key pictures from this current crisis and has chronicled the border for years. This has more sense of a hunt. Also, it conveys the fear and the terror of flight–in contrast to the government framing that it’s all-too-easy, and that all the asylum seekers are murderers and thieves. (Michael Shaw)⠀ ⠀ Reposting @washingtonpost:⠀ …⠀ “A #BorderPatrol spotlight shines on a terrified mother and son from Honduras as they are found in the dark near the #USMexico #border in McAllen, #Texas. The #asylum seekers had rafted across the Rio Grande from Mexico and were lost in the woods. They were then #detained by Border Patrol agents and sent to a processing center for possible separation. A multitude of #immigrant #children have been separated from their family as part of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy, meaning any adult who crosses the border illegally will face criminal #prosecution. Nearly 2,000 immigrant children were separated from their parents during six weeks in April and May, according to the Department of #HomelandSecurity. Lawmakers on Sunday called for Congress to pass a law ending the Trump administration’s practice, but the two sides remain sharply divided on what that bill should look like. Photo by @jbmoorephoto @GettyImages #familyseparation #immigration #fear #immigrationcrisis

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This picture of a child resting on her father is safety in an unsafe world. A father determined to carry his daughter into a better life. A daughter trusting her father completely, even in the midst of danger. Back when we were paying attention to the “caravan” of refugees crossing into Mexico (so strange how we aren’t watching it anymore…), pictures like this one contradicted the story of a migrant army pushing steadily north. And maybe it’s true that showing children is an especially powerful way to picture these Central Americans as refugees rather than invaders. But what devils’ bargains do we make when we decide that the sleeping child is the only proof of her father’s humanity? That’s an awful burden to place on the child’s shoulders. (@christajolson)⠀ ⠀ On December 6th, we and the @MagnumFoundation, with the support of the @EugeneSmithFund Chapnick Grant, are co-producing the latest @ReadingThePictures salon. One of the themes we’re looking at is: #kidsandthewall. The online discussion with live audience chat will analyze how the Border Wall, family separation, and the “caravan” have been visually depicted in the media. (Please sign up and participate via the link in our bio.)⠀ ⠀ Photo: @uesleimarcelinooficial @reuters #kidsandthewall #borderwallsalon, #borderwall #children #migrantchildren #caravan #immigration #zerotolerance #refugees #migrants #migration #politics #visualpolitics #newsphotos #photojournalism #media #humanrights #borders #mexico #guatemala #invasion #refugees #reuters (From caption: Rosendo Noviega, a 38-year-old migrant from Guatemala, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America en route to the United States, holds his daughter Belinda Izabel as he walks along the highway to Juchitan from Santiago Niltepec, Mexico, October 30, 2018.)

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Paris, like so many famous capitals, is a city of statues and monuments to history. That’s why I was so taken by Chris McGrath’s photo of a yellow vest protester on top of this pedestal near the Arc de Triomphe. The populist uprising, with no defined leader or ideology, beyond the urgent demand for economic justice, reminded me of these words from Barack Obama in 2008. He said: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” (-Michael Shaw)⠀ ⠀ Reposting @cmcgrath_photo:⠀ …⠀ (Abbreviated caption) “ACT IV – Paris – A protester stands amid clouds of tear gas during the ‘yellow vests’ demonstration on the Champs-Elysées near the Arc de Triomphe on December 8, 2018 in Paris France. #gettyimagesnews #Paris #france #protest #police #teargas #champselysee #yellowvest #GiletJaunes #VestesJaunes #macron #politics #8decembre #actIV” #economicjustice #uprising #statue #uprising

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These are trying and, indeed, monumental days for women and gender equality in America. Not that this photo deals with politics or the current cultural revolution at all. But amidst all the upheaval, including the flood of conscience photography and protest imagery dominating the news and social media these days and this week, this photo caught my eye. I only saw because I’ve been close to the Photoville festival, I’ve been following their hashtag, and Brittany’s picture was selected for their recent print swap exhibition. The combination of the seen and the obscured, the sensitivity for what’s deeply personal, it’s intimacy so manifestly presented to the viewer–these are the qualities that strike me on the eve of the historic Ford-Kavanaugh encounter in DC tomorrow. What is also important about the photo is that it was taken by a student. Everything we can do to encourage young women to develop their vision and to recognize their expression becomes part of the change. (-Michael Shaw) ⠀ Reposting _notredameart⠀ …⠀ “_notredameart”Surface” by second-year MFA student in photography @brinnie.winnie was selected to be part of “The Print Swap Exhibition” at @photovillenyc.⠀ ⠀ Congrats, Brittany!⠀ ⠀ #BrittanyWilliams #photographer #MFA #NDGrad #gradstudent #photoville #women #intimacy #bw #portrait #ThePrintSwapExhibition

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A profound photo of an ultimately complicated gesture. In the name of protest, I’m play-acting the vision that elicits your paranoia — the paranoia that killed Stephon Clark. But in making the statement, in mirroring your nightmare and promoting the stereotype, I’m actually raising your fear again.⠀ ⠀ photo: @sullyphoto @gettyimages⠀ ⠀ Caption: SACRAMENTO, CA – MARCH 27: An attendee holds a cell phone like a gun during a special city council meeting at Sacramento City Hall on March 27, 2018 in Sacramento, California. Hundreds packed a special city council at Sacramento City Hall to address concerns over the shooting death of Stephon Clark by Sacramento police. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.) #Sacramento #StephonClark #race #blm #blacklivesmatter #socialjustice #racialjustice #policeviolence #cellphone #fear #protest #stereotypes

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