August 6, 2019
Chatting the Pictures

Migrant Mother and Child Stopped in Mexico; Greta Thunberg’s Look; Democratic Debate Show

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.

By Michael Shaw
About the Video

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 Reuters photographer, Jose Luis Gonzalez. The photo shows Guatemalan migrant Lety Perez as she embraces her son while pleading with a member of the Mexican National Guard to let them pass and cross into the United States in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. We discuss how the photograph moves the border war southward, and how this photo, along with the other images in the series, highlights a crisis that seems to victimize the mother, the child, and the soldier.

For “The Look,” we discuss an image taken by Philippe Wojazer for Reuters. This photo shows Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, along with French activists from the Youth for Climate movement, at the National Assembly in Paris, July 23. We focus on Greta’s look in this painterly photo, and how it amplifies her identity as the conscience of the global warming action movement.

“The Pick” this week features a photo by Calla Kessler for the New York Times. The photo was made at a Democratic Debate watch party during the Democratic presidential debate in Detroit. We look at the scene in terms of the youth vote, and how CNN turned the evening into a sporting event.

You can find all the Chatting the Pictures replays here.

The Full Edit

Take a closer look at some of the images from our larger photo edit.

Photo: Jose Luis Gonzalez / Reuters

Caption: The Guatemalan migrant Lety Perez embraces her son Anthony while pleading with a member of the Mexican National Guard to let them pass and cross into the United States, as seen from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, on July 22, 2019.

Photo: Philippe Wojazer / Reuters

Caption: Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, Ivy-Fleur Boileau, Virgile Mouquet, Adelaide Charlier and Alicia Arquetoux, French activists from the Youth for Climate movement, attend the questions to the government session at the National Assembly in Paris, France, July 23, 2019.

Photo: Calla Kessler/New York Times

Caption: Democratic Debate watch party for the New York Times. It was a caucus-style event, where each candidate had a private viewing room + rooms for undecided voters. The biggest turnout was for Elizabeth Warren, followed closely by Marianne Williamson. rivaled only by the drama of the debate, the demographics of each room were quite interesting.”

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Michael Shaw
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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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