December 20, 2021
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: The Most Historic Photo from the January 6th Uprising

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 now-famous photo was taken by Leah Millis for Reuters. It shows supporters of President Trump just after twilight on January 6, 2021 trying to breach the U.S. Capitol building to contest the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Different entrances of the Capitol had already been breached, but the fight at the west entrance went on for hours. Millis’s photo, taken from a scaffold, captures the light from a flash-bang grenade used by Capitol police to try and disperse the crowd.
In the video, we discuss how the effect of the flash—and the sense of the Capitol on fire—serves as the perfect metaphor for the uprising.  We also explain what makes this photo quintessentially different and more historic than most other photos of this shattering event.

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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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