Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
March 2, 2019

Chatting the Pictures: Trump Kim Long Faces; Cohen’s Big Check; Billy Porter’s Oscar Stunner

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 Saul Loeb for AFP. In the picture, we we see Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump during their failed summit in Hanoi. In the discussion, we discuss the “accuracy” of the photo, the surprising mirror effect, and Trump’s unusual display of listlessness.

“The Pick” this week features a photo by Jonathan Ernst for Reuters. This scene from Michael Cohen’s live Congressional testimony was widely photographed and circulated. It shows a check on a video monitor that Trump wrote to Cohen to buy the silence of porn star, Stormy Daniels, during the presidential campaign. We discuss how the photo of the document diverts in a powerful way from the realm of personality coverage. Besides spotlighting “the money trail,” and the display of hard evidence, we also consider the significance of the young staffers beneath the display.

For “The Look,” we discuss an image by Josh Haner for The New York Times. It shows actor Billy Porter appearing on the Oscars red carpet in a stunning half-tuxedo, half-ballgown. We analyze the difference between Porter’s self-described political act, and the photograph of it. We also break down the body language, and the tone of the statement in the current political environment.

You can find all the Chatting the Pictures replays here.

Slideshow

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP Caption: North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump are meeting for a second day of talks in Hanoi. Trump appeared to temper expectations of any major breakthroughs while Kim promised to “do my best”.

Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters Caption: A $35,000 check signed by President Donald Trump to Michael Cohen is shown on a television monitor inside the hearing room. 

Photo: Josh Haner/The New York Times Caption: Billy Porter, being adjusted on the red carpet.

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