January 24, 2020
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: Impeachment Procession; Virginia Gun Rally; Philippine Volcano

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 Staff
About the Video

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 Look,” we discuss a photo taken by David Burnett for Contact Press Images. Famous for his large 4×5 format film camera, the longtime news and conflict photographer is, himself, a Washington institution. In the photo, we witness the procession of House managers moving through National Statuary Hall on the way to the Senate chamber to present two articles of impeachment against President Trump. In the discussion, we examine the impact of lighting, scale, and the effect of the religious statue as a commentary on the impeachment process.

“The News” photo this week was taken by Jim Urquhart for Reuters. It depicts a gun rights rally in Richmond, just outside the Virginia State Capitol. Most “open carry” demonstrations function as a performance for the visual press. In this case, we discuss more specific elements of that demonstration, from the cigarette to the obscured view of the central figure, to the Trump cap.

“The Pick” this week is a photo by Ezra Acayan shot on assignment for Getty Images. In the background, we see the Taal volcano in the Philippines which began erupting last week. We examine the painterly quality of the photo, and the impressive mix of qualities it captures in the face of the disaster.

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: David Burnett/Contact Press Images.

Caption: Cheryl L. Johnson, the clerk of the House of Representatives, and Paul D. Irving, the House’s sergeant-at-arms, lead a procession with the two articles of impeachment against President Trump through National Statuary Hall on the way to the Senate chamber, on Thursday.

Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters.

Caption: Gun rights advocates and militia members attend a rally in Richmond, Virginia.

Photo: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images.

Caption: Residents of Luzon island in the Philippines watch as the Taal volcano erupt on January 12. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has raised alert level to 3 out of 5, warning of the volcano’s continued “magmatic unrest”.

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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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