September 1, 2020
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: Rare Images From Inmates as Prisons Ravaged by Covid-19

Welcome to Chatting the Pictures. Every two weeks, we present short highlights of a lively discussion between Michael Shaw, publisher of Reading the Pictures, and writer, professor and historian, Cara Finnegan. Each video is dedicated to analyzing a significant picture in the news.

By Staff
About the Video
Photos and videos taken by inmates are rarely seen by the general public. However, the impact of COVID-19 on the federal prison system is causing prisoner to risk going public. This highlight video analyzes photo illustrations from Federal Correctional Institutions in Ohio and Michigan. Published by VICE as part of a collaboration with the Marshall Project, the screenshots and accompanying video are both an indictment of the prison system and a testament to self-preservation.
For this discussion, we’re pleased to be joined by writer, curator and educator, Pete Brook. As the publisher of the photo blog, Prison Photography, Pete is one of the foremost experts on photography and incarceration. Michael, Cara and Pete discuss the unique presentation of the images and the shocking first hand look into the prison system’s mishandling of COVID-19.

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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

Cara Finnegan is a writer, photo historian, and professor of Communication at the University of Illinois. She has been affiliated with Reading The Pictures for nearly 15 years, most recently as co-host of Chatting The Pictures. Her latest book is Photographic Presidents: Making History from Daguerreotype to Digital, out with University of Illinois Press in spring 2021.

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Pete Brook

Pete Brook is a San Francisco-based freelance writer and curator. He is editor of Prison Photography, a website that analyzes imagery produced within, and about, prisons. Pete has an Art History M.A. (University of St Andrews) and an Art Gallery and Museum Studies M.A. (University of Manchester). He has lectured internationally on the topic of photography, taught art in prisons, volunteered with Books To Prisoners and served as a board member with University Beyond Bars. His work has been featured in publications such as  The New York Times, The British Journal of Photography, Wired, Aperture, and The Marshall Project.


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