March 8, 2019

Diatribe of the Accused, Silence for the Abused: Our Social Week

CBS co-host Gayle King with R Kelly. Photograph: Lazarus Baptiste/CBS

A viral picture of singer R. Kelly gesticulating during an interview with CBS’s Gayle King is one of those sensational internet nuggets that feels tailor made for the cultural moment. Loaded with subtexts of gender, race, and media representation, it took less than a day for the photo to be dissected from every angle imaginable. Like Kelly’s celebrity, the screengrab is heavy-handed theatrical, emphasizing the emotionality of an artist whose fall from grace is now all but complete. At least he got to reuse the set from Trapped in the Closet one last time.

In other news, RTP founder Michael Shaw sat down this week with writer and historian Cara Finnegan for another lightning round of Chatting the Pictures. Their 20 minute conversation covers three of the many noteworthy photographs honored last month by Missouri School of Journalism’s Picture of the Year International awards, providing candid insight into the way these powerful images are working in terms of framing, impact, and symbolism.

Lastly, our social feeds were full of exceptional moments this week. From climate change to carnival, Bernie rallies, and CPAC. We’ll leave you with just a few of the disparate highlights here, beginning with further examples of how the media is grappling visually with the emotional legacy of sex abuse. While perpetrators like Kelly (see Kavanaugh) make a brazen show of their outrage at being accused, victims of sexual violence are quietly suffering, displaying tremendous bravery by making their stories public.

-Rian Dundon



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It’s a beautiful image, especially for a newswire photo. It was taken by Susana Vera for Reuters. It’s clearly a man, but in a childlike pose, as if he’s still in the womb. The man, Miguel Hurtado, says he was sexually abused as a teenager by a Benedictine monk. It’s infant like, but where did all those folds come from? It conveys a sense of pulling, like he’s laying tightly. Then, there’s the global nature of it, the photo taken in Madrid, but distributed in the U.S. and posted the day before the start of the Vatican’s sexual abuse conference in Rome. Back to the sheets, does it make sense to say he’s laying aggressively? (-@MegHandler)⠀ ⠀ Repost from Twitter: Susana Vera @reuterspictures photos of the week⠀ ⠀ caption: Miguel Hurtado, who says he was sexually abused at the age of 16 by a Benedictine monk in Catalonia, poses for a portrait in Madrid, Spain. More photos of the week: #man #bed #trauma #sexualabuse #portrait #spain #madrid #fetal #childlike photojournalism #church #sleep #sleeping

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I’m always uneasy taking something wildly out of context, but it’s because of the shape our planet is in. What started out as a party, as something fanciful, is looking as much like destiny. (-Michael Shaw)⠀ ⠀ Reposting @afpphoto:⠀ …⠀ “AFP Photo 📷 @mauro_pimentel – Revellers wearing Pterodactyl costumes take part in the “Bloco da Lama”, a mud carnival party, in Paraty, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, on March 02, 2019. “Bloco da Lama” started in 1986 with teenagers playing with mud and became a traditional event at the historical city of Paraty.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #BlocodaLama #Pterodactyl #mud #mudcarnival #Paraty #carnival” #party #costume #tradition #sea #creatures #brazil #dinosaurs #climatechange

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Rian Dundon
See other posts by Rian here.

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