September 23, 2023
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: Coexisting with a Steadily Rising Sea

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

In February 2022, Giacomo d’Orlando captured this portrait of Abdul Latief, a 62-year-old fisherman from Java, Indonesia. Due to the sea breaching the island, Abdul is struggling to find fish and spends more money on fuel than what he earns. His house flooded for the first time in 2008 and has been elevated twice since then. Climate change is severely affecting Java. Coastal flooding and erosion have caused rising sea levels, and experts predict that thousands of small islands and millions of houses will vanish by 2050.

In the video, we showcase the vibrant colors and everyday objects to emphasize the irony and cultural loss caused by sea level rise. Additionally, we bring attention to the mold growth and electrical hazards to highlight the catastrophic consequences of climate change. We also note the TV show as a symbol of distraction and detachment from the existential threat.

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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