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.
This photo was taken by Justin Sullivan for Getty Images at Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. Behind the young visitor with the selfie stick, we can see the Colorado River which supplies water to 40 million people in seven western states. The river feeds two major reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Lake Powell is at a historic low having dropped 44 feet in the past year.
In the video, we discuss the surprising complexity of the image. Beyond the Instagram moment and the obvious markers of the climate crisis, it has a lot to say about how we value the environment and how we’ve manipulated it.
You can find all the Chatting the Pictures replays here.