March 23, 2020
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: Coronavirus Politics–From the White House, to the Cafe, to the Gun Shop

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 was taken by Doug Mills for The New York Times. It depicts the White House coronavirus task force at a White House press conference, March 16, 2020. Our discussion details the actual versus suggested meaning of the photo given the government’s flawed response to the virus. We also explore how the scene reflects the president’s concern for optics.

For “The Look,” we discuss a photo taken by Remo Casilli for Reuters. It shows a waiter in Rome receiving payment before closing after Italy ordered a lockdown on the whole country, on March 11, 2020. We look at the degree of precaution in the photo, and what it says about the health crisis and social class.

“The Pick” this week is a photo by Patrick T. Fallon for Reuters. Taken on on March 15, 2020, it shows a pedestrian pushing a stroller as people in the background wait in line at gun store in Culver City, California. With the number of people seeking guns in the midst of the pandemic, we discuss how this widely circulated photo is hardly sensational. 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: Doug Mills/The New York Times

Caption: The internal culture created by President Trump is haunting his administration’s crisis response to the coronavirus. March 16, 2020.

Photo: Remo Casilli/REUTERS
Caption: A waiter receives payment before closing after Italy orders a lockdown on the whole country aimed at beating the coronavirus, in Rome, Italy, March 11, 2020.
Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/REUTERS
Caption: A pedestrian pushes a stroller as people wait in line outside to buy supplies at the Martin B. Retting, Inc. gun store amid fears of the global growth of coronavirus cases, in Culver City, California.March 15, 2020.
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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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