May 28, 2022
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: Toxic Foam Overruns a Town

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 Juan Barreto for AFP/Getty Images. It shows foam which formed in a polluted river invading a neighborhood in Mosquera, near Bogota, on April 26, 2022. Waste and chemicals combined with heavy rains led to the overflow of the river. In the aftermath, a foul smelling toxic foam, mostly drifting in cloud fragments, overran the streets of this Columbian town.

In the video, we discuss the tendency to see the foam more as a curiosity than a threat, especially the way its color, texture and consistency presents in a photograph. We also consider similar effects in an occurrence last year in India.

You can find all the Chatting the Pictures replays here.

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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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