July 25, 2023
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: NYC’s Children of the Smoke

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

Clark Hodgin took this photo for The New Yorker. It shows three young people in Central Park as New York City suffers from thick smoke and otherworldly air caused by over 160 wildfires in Quebec and other parts of Canada. This dangerous phenomenon, typically seen on America’s west coast during fire season, is rarely experienced on the east coast.

In this video, we examine the ways in which the smoke, the children’s body language, and the image’s verticality and vanishing points create a sense of claustrophobia, ambiguity, and resignation.

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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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