May 15, 2020
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: Life and Death in New York; Distanced Mother’s Day; Restaurants Adapt

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.

By Staff
About the Video

“The News” photo this week is by freelance photographer Angus Mordant. It was taken Sunday, May 10, 2020 at a pocket park called St Vincent’s Triangle in downtown Manhattan across the street from the Lennox Health Greenwich Village hospital.  A refrigerated trailer truck used as overflow morgue for coronavirus victims is visible in the background. We discuss the moral and practical dimensions of the photo, and the irony that the park is also the site of the NYC AIDS Memorial.


For “The Look,” we discuss a photo taken by Isadora Kosofsky for the New York Times. We see the Botiz family reacting to seeing Beatrice Botiz, 82 on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 10th. The family is peering through the doorway of the Alexandria Care Center in Los Angeles. We focus on the emotional elements of the photo and the effect of the COVID-19 crisis on nursing homes.

“The Pick” this week is a photo by Athit Perawongmetha for Reuters. it shows people having lunch at the Penguin Eat Shabu hotpot restaurant after it reopened in Bangkok, Thailand, May 8. We speculate as to why this photo was published so widely. We also look at it as a post-quarantine model for restaurants in the U.S.

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: Angus Mordant

Caption:  New York City AIDS Memorial Park at St Vincent’s Triangle, in Greenwich Village next to Lennox Health Greenwich Village hospital. Sunday, May 10, 2020,

Photo: Isadora Kosofsky

Caption: The Botiz family reacted to seeing Beatrice Botiz, 82, through the doorway at Alexandria Care Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 10.

Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

Caption: People have lunch at the Penguin Eat Shabu hotpot restaurant after it reopened in Bangkok, Thailand, May 8.

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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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