February 5, 2021
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: President Biden’s Fresh Authority

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

This photo by Tom Brenner documents President Joe Biden’s first meeting with Republican senators in the Oval Office. Taken for Reuters, it demonstrating Biden’s leverage and confidence, so much so that Brenner leaves him out of this photo. In this video, we explain why the empty chair at the President’s desk is an indication of strength. We note how the body language of the Senators reflects Biden’s exercise of authority. And we discuss the many ways the photo draws a contrast with Donald Trump’s chaotic handling of the job.

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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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