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. This week, distinguished photographer and professor Nina Berman joins us to discuss three images from an article we published at Reading the Pictures titled “Here Are the Photos of People Suffering and Dying of Covid.”
Nina Berman is a documentary photographer, filmmaker, and author. Her wide-ranging work looks at American politics, militarism, environmental contamination and post violence trauma. She is also a professor and director of the photography program at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
The first photo was taken by John Moore for Getty Images. It shows EMTs preparing to unload COVID-19 transfer patients at the Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx. We discuss the unusual impact of the outdoor setting, and the vantage of the photographer in bringing intimacy to a scene of crisis and emergency.
The second image was taken by paramedic Danny Kim for TIME. In this photo, a coronavirus patient under a plastic tent is being prepared to be intubated by an anesthesiologist. The discussion emphasizes the importance of science and medicine in a political environment that has been lacking that understanding.
The third photo was taken by Philip Montgomery for New York Times Magazine. In it, we a funeral director retrieving the body of a Covid-19 patient from a refrigerated trailer. We focus on the different ways this photograph personalizes death as the country struggles to absorb it at an enormous scale.
You can find all the Chatting the Pictures replays here.
Take a closer look at some of the images from our larger photo edit.