December 7, 2021
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: Dina Litovsky’s Child Vax Portraits from the Kid’s Eye View

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 Dina Litovsky for The New Yorker for a story about how New York City kids feel about getting vaccinated for the coronavirus. Here we see Anais Flores, a seven-year-old in the second grade, who said that getting her COVID-19 vaccine was like “a long nail poked into your body” but that the experience was also “great, and fun.”

In the video, we look at the photo and other images in the edit for the way they capture a sense of health, normalcy, and agency. We also contrast these photos with so many media images—influenced, perhaps, by anti-vaxx politics—that highlight looks of fear and pain as kids receive the shot. Finally, we illustrate how the photo takes its place in a long history of child vaccination images especially connected to back-to-school inoculations for such diseases as polio, the measles, and the flu.

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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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