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. 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. This week, our webcast looks at the massive democracy protests in Hong Kong against a proposed Chinese extradition law.
“The News” photo this week is by Vincent Yu for Associated Press. In this June 16th photo, a protester clenches his fist as hundreds of thousands of people march. The photo conveys the massive scale of the protests and a traditional gesture. While it suggests a leader and followers too, the connection between the fist and crowd is random and, in fact, anti-authoritarian.
For “The Look,” we discuss an image taken by for Agence France Presse by Isaac Lawrence. In the photo, police search a man outside the Legislative Council Complex in Hong Kong on June 11. The photo is artful and complex, with a focus on the person in the center. Juxtaposed with the figure in the mural, the picture also mocks the ideal of a Chinese market economy.
“The Pick” this week is by Yuen Chan. It shows the Hong Kong press at a June 13th press conference in protective clothing and helmets to protest police brutality. While the journalists do their job, they are also sending a message that they, as well as the public, are under threat. The situation and gaze of the police officials also make them look more like defendants, complicit as they are. Finally, the protester’s yellow vests echo the same symbol of France’s populist uprising.
You can find all the Chatting the Pictures replays here.