May 1, 2021
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: World Press Photo of The Year, A COVID-19 Hug

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. Chatting the Pictures is produced by Liliana Michelena.

By Staff
About the Video

This photograph by Mads Nissen, titled “The First Embrace,” was the winner of this year’s World Press Photo of the Year award. It was taken for Panos Pictures and published by Politiken in Denmark. The photo shows a patient being embraced by a nurse in a care home in Sao Paulo during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this video, we recognize the power of contact and touch, and how the photo elevates the patient and the elderly. We also discuss “the win” for metaphor. Whether you see the plastic alluding to the wings of a butterfly or that of an angel, both lend their own weight and meaning to the hug between the patient and the caregiver. Finally, we touch on the significance of the location as Brazil suffers disproportionately from the Covid crisis.

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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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