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 Wendy Cardona, a registered nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital in Lafayette, Colorado. It shows fellow members of her surgical team observing the massive midwinter firestorm that struck Boulder County on December 30th, 2021. A combination of climate change conditions—including prolonged drought, unusually high temperatures and winds of over 100 mile per hour— created a firestorm that destroyed over 1000 structures. The fire eventually came within three blocks of the facility.
In the video, we discuss some contemporary and historical references based on the painterly quality of the photograph. We address the growing theme of first responders and spectatorship. And we focus on the image as a climate crisis red flag when it comes to overdevelopment and the vulnerability of the suburbs.
You can find all the Chatting the Pictures replays here.