April 3, 2020
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: More Pandemic—New York Harbor; Las Vegas Homeless; NYC ICU

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 by Mike Segar for Reuters. It shows the USNS Comfort passing the Statue of Liberty as it enters New York Harbor. We discuss the irony of an underprepared United States seeking aid, and the ideals of the statue in contrast to the government’s politicized crisis response.

For “The Look,” we discuss a photo taken by MediaPunch via BACKGRID. This photo shocked people across the nation. It shows an outdoor shelter located in the parking lot at an expo center in Las Vegas. Catholic Charities was forced to move men there temporarily from its 500-bed shelter after a resident contracting the coronavirus. We analyze the moral response to the optics, and compare the visual arrangement to a prominent symbol of the AIDS crisis.

“The Pick” this week is a photo by Benjamin Norman for TIME. It shows Dr. Laura Mulvey, a doctor at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, who ended up in isolation for COVID-19 in her own ICU. We talk about the medical, professional, and emotional distress in the photo, and how these front line medical workers are also forced to battle the virus without adequate protective gear.

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: Mike Segar/Reuters

Caption: USNS Comfort passes the Statue of Liberty as it enters New York Harbor.

Photo: MediaPunch/BACKGRID

Caption: The temporary homeless shelter at the Cashman Center in Las Vegas. March 30, 2020.

Photo: Benjamin Norman for TIME
Caption: “It’s not easy being a patient, especially in your own hospital.” Dr. Laura Mulvey, who practices emergency medicine, in her isolation unit in the ICU at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn on March 26, 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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