March 10, 2021
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: Significance of the Early Pandemic Drone Photo of NYC’s Hart Island

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 Lucas Jackson, taken for Reuters, was one of the earliest and most prominent photos of the COVID-19 pandemic to openly document the loss of life. As America crosses the tragic 500,000 death marker and approaches the one-year anniversary of the virus, we take a look back at this powerful drone image from New York’s Hart Island. We summarize the Island’s long history up to its role as the site where the city buries its unclaimed corpses. We also discuss the power of the photo’s perspective and the importance of the image in the context of the political year.

You can find all the Chatting the Pictures replays here.

Post By

See other posts by Staff here.

The Big Picture

Follow us on Instagram (@readingthepictures) and Twitter (@readingthepix), and


A curated collection of pieces related to our most-popular subject matter.


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.


Comments Powered by Disqus