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. 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.