Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
October 19, 2019

Chatting the Pictures: Trump Pelosi Syria Blow Up; Giuliani the Wise Guy; Turkey Invades

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 is by White House photographer Shealah Craighead. It was taken during a White House meeting about the Syria crisis. An invitation to the Democrats to discuss Trump’s actions precipitating the invasion quickly broke down into name calling, and a Democratic walkout. We analyze the historical importance of the photo, its brilliant composition, the gender and power dynamics, and the body language.

For “The Look,” we discuss a screen shot of Rudolf Giuliani and accused influence peddler Lev Parnas taken at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. Parnas and his partner, Igor Fruman, on his right but not shown, have been indictment for violation of campaign finance laws. Michael and Cara discuss the photo in the context of the administration’s Ukraine influence scandal and Giuliani’s role, with Parnas and Fruman, in the Trump impeachment investigations. Particularly, we examine how the photo echoes “underworld” stereotypes as well as the former Mayor’s particular brand of hubris.

“The Pick” this week is a photo by Ismail Coskun for IHA and distributed by Reuters.
It depicts women running from their homes after a rocket fired from Syria landed in their neighborhood in Turkey close to the Syrian border. We analyze the photo as a symbol of the Turkish invasion of northern Syria, and the intent to eliminate the Kurdish presence there. The Kurds had been allied with the United States in the region in the successful battle against ISIS.

You can find all the Chatting the Pictures replays here.


Photo: Shealah Craighead/ White House

Caption: Photo posted by Donald Trump on Twitter: “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown! October 16, 2019

Caption: Cell phone video from 2018 shows Rudy Giuliani at the Trump Hotel with Lev Parnas who was recently arrested for allegedly funneling foreign money into US political campaigns.

Photo: Ismail Coskun (IHA) via Reuters
Caption: Women run out of their home after a rocket fired from Syria landed in their neighborhood in the Turkish border town of Akcakale in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, October 10. 

  • 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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