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

Chatting the Pictures: Seeing a Shooter; Arctic Melt; Inflatable Couture

Welcome to the latest edition of Chatting the Pictures. In each 10-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 is by Dallas Morning News photographer, Tom Fox. The photo shows an armed shooter during an attack at the Earle Cabell federal courthouse in downtown Dallas. With the ubiquity of these attacks, the media policy recently has been to erase the attacker by not naming him or showing his photo. In contrast, this is the rare instance where we are able to observe an attack (and what seems like the shooter’s expression of fear) in real time.

For “The Look,” we discuss an image taken by climate researcher Steffen M. Olsen for the Danish Meteorological Institute. This photo, was made in the northwest of Greenland as the dogs traveled on top of melting sea ice. We discuss the irony of this image, which at first reads as a visual trope for adventure and exploration, or a cool scene where dogs appear to run on water. Instead, the image proves a vivid snapshot of climate change.

“The Pick” this week is by Henry Nicholls via Reuters and was taken during London Fashion Week Men’s shows. We discuss fashion, or more specifically, “Inflatable couture,” as a beacon of political commentary. We also discuss the photo in terms of one more filter bubble, and also a critique of masculinity.

You can find all the Chatting the Pictures replays here.

Slideshow

Photo: Tom Fox/Dalls Morning News. Caption: An armed shooter (shown) attacks at the Earle Cabell federal courthouse Monday morning in downtown Dallas, on  June 18, 2019. Law enforcement returned fire and the shooter was hit by gunfire. No officers or citizens were injured. FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno identified the shooter as Brian Isaack Clyde, 22.

Photo: Steffen M. Olsen and the Danish Meteorological Institute
Caption: Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) climate researcher Steffen M. Olsen captured this image in the northwest of Greenland as he and sled dogs traveled on top of sea ice flooded by surface melt water while he went to retrieve the research team’s oceanographic moorings and weather station equipment. It appears that the dogs are walking on water.

Photo: Henry Nicholls/Reuters. Caption: A model presents creations during the University of Westminster MA catwalk show at London Fashion Week Men’s in London, England, on June 9, 2019.

  • 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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