September 25, 2019
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: Saudi Show & Tell; Migrants Captured in Cotton Field; Greta, Obama Fist Bump

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 Hamad Mohammed for Reuters. The image shows a September 19th news conference in Riyadh with Saudi defense ministry spokesman Colonel Turki Al-Malik as he displays remains of the missiles which the Saudi government says were used by Iran to attack their Aramco oil facility. We discuss how media relations and the display of evidence has become so refined. As refined, that is, as the weapons that rendered the Saudi military and its oil infrastructure so helpless.

For “The Look,” we discuss an image taken by John Moore for Getty Images. This photo shows a U.S. Border Patrol agent apprehending a mother and daughter from Ecuador in a Texas cotton field on September 10, 2019. Cara discusses the photos many ironies, including its angle, and the parallel role of migrants toiling in America’s farm fields. Michael focuses on the symbolism of the cotton field and the connection to American slavery.

“The Pick” this week is a photo posted by Barack Obama documenting his meeting with climate activist Greta Thunberg. We talk about similar meetings Obama has held in the past, the relevance of the fist bump, and how much equivalence, respect, and star power there is between the two.

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: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters

Caption: Saudi defense ministry spokesman Colonel Turki Al-Malik displays remains of the missiles which Saudi government says were used to attack an Aramco oil facility, during a news conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia September 18, 2019.

Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Caption: U.S. Border Patrol agent Carlos Ruiz apprehends a mother and daughter from Ecuador on September 10, 2019 in Penitas, Texas. The undocumented immigrants had been hiding for hours in a cotton field after border agents detected and chased their group earlier in the day.

Photo: Obama Foundation

Caption: Barack Obama meets with Climate activist, Greta Thunberg, at the Obama Foundation offices. “Just 16, Greta Thunberg is already one of our planet’s greatest advocates. Recognizing that her generation will bear the brunt of climate change, she’s unafraid to push for real action. She embodies our vision at the Obama Foundation: A future shaped by young leaders like her.”

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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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