Welcome to a special, year-end edition of “Chatting the Pictures.” In this webcast, we focus on pictures of the year and the theme of exposure. 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” examines 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.
For “The News,” we discuss a photo of Kamala Harris and Al Sharpton. It was taken last January by Bebeto Matthews for Getty Images. Harris dropped out of the race for president this past week. In the discussion, we reflect on the pilgrimage to this Harlem restaurant, and the political and cultural forces Harris faced during her one year run.
“The Look” offering this week highlights a widely-published, long-exposure photograph taken by Philip Pacheco for AFP/Getty. It’s was taken in October in Northern California during the massive Kincade fire. We analyze the photo’s allure, from its vivid and celestial nature to its frightful qualities, including the allusion to fires caused by PG&E power lines.
“The Pick” this week showcases a stunning photo of climate activist, Greta Thunberg, taken by Shane Balkowitsch via AP. It was taken on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. We discuss the historical and the poetic quality of Balkowitsch’s wet plate processing technique, and how the image eloquently ties Thunberg’s fight against fossil fuels to the ecological exploitation of poor and indigenous peoples.
You can find all the Chatting the Pictures replays here.