February 18, 2021
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: The Oxygen Tank as Pandemic Icon

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

By Staff
About the Video

In this photo by Bruno Kelly for Reuters, we see relatives of patients suffering from Covid-19 at home gathering to buy oxygen and fill cylinders from a private company in Manaus, Brazil. In more modern and prosperous cities, hospitals draw liquid oxygen from large central supples. Unfortunately, citizens in countries of lesser means are being forced by COVID-19 to secure canisters and refills individually. We discuss the striking light, the anxious waiting, and the implications of a new global symbol.

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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 most recent book is Photographic Presidents: Making History from Daguerreotype to Digital.


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