August 31, 2021
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: In One Embrace, All the Feelings of Back-to-School During Covid

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 photo was taken by Al Seib for the Los Angeles Times. It shows kindergartner August Russell clinging to his mother outside Jackson Elementary in Altadena, California, on August 12, 2021, as students return to campus after more than a year of pandemic shutdowns and virtual learning. In the video, we discuss the emotional power of August’s body and face; how the image captures different pandemic parental roles; and the rarity of a non-politicized, back-to-school Covid photo.

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