March 23, 2020
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: Coronavirus Culture, From Vatican, to Apartment Block, to Corner Bar

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” 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.

By Staff
About the Video

“The News” photo this week is from the Vatican News via AP. In the widely-circulated photo, we see the Pope delivering his weekly blessing to an empty St. Peter’s Square, March 15, 2020. We discuss the moral and emotional range of the photo, from encouraging to discouraging, as well as the power of its geometry.

For “The Look,” we discuss a photo taken by Alessandro Grassani for The New York Times. It features building residents on their balconies in Milan, March 14, 2020. With whole countries on lock-down, we look at the multitude of ways the Italian balcony, and photos of them in the media, represent the make-do continuation of community life.

“The Pick” this week is a photo by Tyler LaRiviere for the Sun-Times. It captures a St. Patrick’s Day celebration outside a Chicago bar after the city parade was canceled. Focusing on a group of partiers, we discuss how the photograph frames the impact of the coronavirus crackdown on young adults, and the resistance—at least initially-to comply with social quarantines.

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: Vatican News via AP

Caption: Pope Francis delivers his weekly blessing to an empty St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, March 15, 2020.

Photo: Alessandro Grassani for The New York Times
Caption: Encouraging doctors and nurses from balconies in Milan, March 14, 2020.

Photo: Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Caption: The St. Patrick’s Day parades were canceled Saturday amid fears of the spread of coronavirus, people still flocked to River North to celebrate Saturday, March 14, 2020.

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