Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
March 7, 2019

Chatting Pictures of the Year Winners: Border Wall; Sutherland Springs Shooting; Arctic Cold War

Welcome to the latest edition of Chatting the Pictures. 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. This week, instead of our regular format, we examine three award-winning photos from this year’s POYi, or Picture of the Year, International awards sponsored by the Missouri School of Journalism.

The first picture was taken by Fabio Bucciarelli for Yahoo News. Titled “The Border Wall,” it won first place in the News Picture Story category. It’s the photo of a Central America migrant woman hugging her child on the beach in San Diego after crossing the Mexico-US border wall, December 14, 2018. We discuss the photo in terms of its powerful framing (you can credit the wall, itself for that), and its political and geographic impact.

The second photo, taken by Lisa Krantz for the San Antonio Express News, received an Award of Excellence in the Newspaper Local Picture Story category. (We are especially happy to discuss a photo by a local new photographer!) The story deals with the mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in November 2017, in which a young gunman killed 26 and injured 20 others. It was the deadliest mass shooting in Texas and in an American place of worship. We talk about the photo in terms of the impact on this Christian congregation, and as a commentary on gun violence. The shooting target also brings into play, and into our discussion, also bringing up gender and school shootings.

Finally, we discuss a photo by Louie Palu from the story “New Cold War.” Taken for National Geographic, it received an Award of Excellence in Issue Reporting Picture Story category. The work has to do with the new Cold War unfolding in the Arctic as countries lay claim to its territory and natural resources—the area having become more accessible and vulnerable as a result of climate change. We explore the fascinating visual and symbolic elements of the photo, as well as the way it marks time and political and environment acts in progress.

You can find all the Chatting the Pictures replays here.

Slideshow

Photo: Fabio Bucciarelli for Yahoo News

Thousands of Central American migrants left their home countries fleeing persecution, poverty and violence. Once in Tijuana – Mexico they try to cross the border wall looking for a better life into US. 

Caption: A Central America migrant woman hugs her child at San Diego’s beach, after crossing the Mexico-US border wall at Tijuana Beach, Mexico, December 14, 2018.

Photo: Lisa Krantz / San Antonio Express News

In the year after the mass shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, survivors and victims‚ families relied on their faith and love for each other to heal and move forward together.

Caption: Range manager and head instructor Jaime Correa teaches a Principles of Active Shooter class to members of the Safety Response Team made up of congregants at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs including Shane Dahlberg, left, at LoneStar Handgun in Converse on June 30, 2018.

Photo: Louie Palu for National Geographic

A new Cold War is unfolding in the Arctic as countries militarize the Arctic Circle and make claims to geography and natural resources as the melting Polar region is transformed by Climate Change.

Caption: Canadian soldiers building a traditional Inuit igloo as an improvised survival shelter near a camp at the Crystal City training area near Resolute Bay and the Polar Continental Shelf Program in temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius in Nunavut, Canada. (Photo taken Mar 1, 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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