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.
“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.
Take a closer look at some of the images from our larger photo edit.