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 Amber Bracken for The New York Times. The dresses you see are hung on crosses along a roadside commemorating 215 children, found in unmarked graves, who died at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia It was part of a network of schools across Canada that forcibly assimilated at least 150,000 Indigenous children from the late 1800’s to the late 1970’s. Physical, emotional and sexual abuse were rampant in these institutions, as was forced labor. Bracken’s image was just awarded the 2022 World Press Photo of the Year.
In the video, we discuss the use and meaning of the garments and colors that comprise the memorial. Then we linger on the many elements and symbolism that make the photograph both a powerful remembrance and a stunning wealth of visual storytelling.
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